The recommended way of killing mice is by breaking the neck (cervical dislocation). This is quick, and causes the animal the minimum of distress. Pick the mouse up by the base of the tail, and place it on the top of the cage. Allow it to run away such that the animal is stretched out with its hindlegs almost in the air and its forelimbs gripping the cage bars firmly. Using a blunt instrument, press down firmly on the base of the skull and pull on its tail. The stretching action breaks the neck, the pressure at the base of the skull defining the point of dislocation.
Kill rats either by cervical dislocation or by decapitation with a rodent guillotine. The rats' greater size and strength require that they are stunned before either procedure. Hold the animal firmly by the base of its tail, and swing it to hit the back of the rats' head firmly on a hard surface (e.g., a wooden tabletop). While the animal is stunned, dislocate its neck using a large pair of scissors. Alternatively, a guillotine (e.g., Harvard Apparatus Ltd., Kent, UK) can be used to decapitate the animal after it is stunned.
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