Memories of execution

Susie Madrak talks about killing mice—read it for the denouement. I’ll share my first experience with killing mice, but I’ll keep it below the fold for the squeamish.

I’d grown up familiar with mouse and rat traps, but it was my father who was in charge of setting them and taking out the little corpses. I didn’t have to do any of that until I got to college, and then I did it on a massive scale.

I was a lackey in a lab looking at brain histology. That meant I got to collect the raw material, and my boss showed me the ropes.

“First, you catch the mouse. Then, you hold it near the edge of the table with your thumb and forefinger just behind the ears. Give the tail a swift, firm tug and snap, the neck breaks, you’ve got a dead mouse.”

With a little practice, I mastered that. Sometimes I’d tug too hard, and the tail would rip out—but the mouse’s neck would still be broken, so it didn’t notice. Once the mouse was dead, though, I had to extract the brain…with a pair of pliers.

My boss was extremely good at it. Grip the snout just so, twist and tear, and the front of the skull was ripped off. Peel the cranium back and to the sides, and there was the bloody pink brain, exposed and resting on the pedestal of the basicranium. Scoop it off and plop it into a container of fixative, and you were done in about 30 seconds. Next!

I was never quite that fast, but I still got the whole process up to a reasonable speed. I had to—I slaughtered a lot of mice that year.

So I guess I’m not too squeamish about killing mice, but still…I think glue traps are evil. That’s slow, frightening, squirming death, where the poor beastie is left to suffer for far too long. I think all they do is spare the executioner the sight of blood.


  1. Carlie says

    This is why I’m a botanist. When it came time to make the big decision between taking plant physiology and animal physiology, chopping up live plants or live rats, it seemed like an easy choice.

  2. says

    The people doing the rat work got to use the little rat guillotine, though! All I got to do with the guillotine was clean it up afterwards — I really was just the bottommost lackey on the totem pole — and seriously, mopping up the blood after a score of rats had been decapitated was not a pleasant job.

  3. HPLC_Sean says

    I had to guillotine rats for a time. It was a morbid parade having a bunch of researchers lining up to collect the parts they needed. One wanted the brain, another wanted the liver, and a third wanted the ovaries. Still an undergrad at the time this wasn’t exactly the glamor that came to mind when I thought of bio-medical research, but everyone starts on the ground floor I guess.
    Come to think of it, that could be why I decided to go into analytical chemistry later on.

  4. Kapitano says

    Stephen Rose in his book The Making of Memory (which I’m sure you know) describes killing chicks by cutting through their necks with scissors, using it to springboard into a lucid discussion of animal rights and research ethics.

    When I was 16, I had the choice between a course in computing and one in biology. I chose computing simply because I was squeamish about cutting up dead animals while they were looking at me

  5. Miguelito says

    I love being a geologist. Any critter I will have to handle has already been dead for tens to hundreds of millions of years.

  6. says

    Pithing is for sissies. A frog lab I worked with would just put one blade of a pair of scissors in the frog’s mouth, and snip, off would come the top of the frog’s head. It was very quick and effective, but kind of creepy. The frog would just sit there, it’s lower jaw and tongue hanging out, with everything above them gone.

  7. John says

    The typical spring traps for mice that are nominally lethal aren’t great, either. If the mouse is unlucky, the trap only catches an extremity, perhaps a leg. Once, one poor sucker dragged herself several feet and up the grill of a floor fan before finally expiring. Another time, I found the guy gravely wounded but still alive and, after carrying him outside, quickly dispatched him with a crushing blow from a scrap piece of 2X4. After that, I’m always relieved when I find them already dead.

  8. says

    This is why I went into the social sciences. I let my cats do the mouse killing. One of my cats woke me up by playing handball with a mouse. On a Saturday morning I hear this, thump, thump, thump. I look up and there’s Lee bouncing a mouse against the bedroom wall. I yelled at him to stop, and he gives me this looks that says, “I’m just tenderizing it”.

    No, he didn’t eat the mouse. I disposed of it before the cat could.

  9. Algerine says

    I remember doing the frog-and-scissors routine for developmental biology class. The fun part came in quickly ripping the frog’s chest cavity open, pulling out the heart, and dumping it into a petri dish full of Ringer’s. Do it fast enough and the heart would sit in the Ringer’s beating away. That part had nothing to do with the lesson, but it was still pretty cool.

    The experiment that got me was studying limb regeneration in mud puppies. We knocked ’em out (with ether that we swiped from organic chem, I think) and lopped off their arms at the elbow. Then our group extracted the humerus (or the mud puppy equivalent) from one side and slid it up next to the humerus in the other arm to see if it caused a difference in the rate of regeneration. Alas, our mud puppy died over a long weekend from an algal infection and never had the chance to regenerate.

    Boy, that beating heart thing was cool though.

  10. Diego says

    I was kind of spoiled in my Master’s research. I needed tissue from many species of mouse from the Andes (I was doing molecular phylogenetics and needed to obtain DNA). However we had several collaborators in South America who did the collecting for us.

    Actually, I rather like dissecting and I always love to practice my Spanish so I wouldn’t have stayed up nights if I’d had the option to go field sampling and mouse killing myself.

  11. says

    A former labmate reported using a melon-baller to scoop out rodent crania. Mmm…

    I was very happy working with yeast. Harvest the suckers, rinse, freeze until you need them, and bust ’em open with a glass bead beater. Then I found out yeast can “scream” under stress, too.

    In college, my then-bf and I caught a mouse on a glue trap that the landlord had given us. It cried piteously, and we decided to terminate it as mercifully as we could with a (borrowed) hammer. Being cheap students, we also thought we could reuse the trap (it was a giant pad of glue, and the mouse was ~1.5 cm long and close to the edge). He pulled the mouse off, but its tail was ripped off in the process. *sigh*

  12. Theo Bromine says

    I think my decision to change to electrical engineering from biology/medicine (where I thought I was headed since childhood) was cemented the summer after 1st year university, when I worked in a U of Toronto blood research lab. My job was mostly to kill C3H mice and extract the bone marrow from they tiny femurs, and mince they tiny spleen and they tiny thymus through a screen (apologies to Kliban). My lab’s killing method was similar to PZ’s, but instead of fingers on the neck, I would put a pencil or lab spatula firmly across the back of the neck, grab around the shoulders, then twist/jerk to break the neck. I think it was the actual killing, rather than the blood and guts that bothered me, since I had always rather enjoyed dissections. These days, I have cats to take care of our occasional housemouse (though the only one young enough to care thinks mice are an amazing toy – they run around by themselves, and don’t need to be brought to a human for throwing).

  13. CCP says

    “just put one blade of a pair of scissors in the frog’s mouth, and snip”
    yeah, the ueber-pith. I use my rat guillotine for that part (because now we CO2-asphixiate the rats). Actually brain-pithing takes considerably more skill; it’s all in the wrist. But either way, it’s next part that fascinates me: the spinal pith, where the legs go instantly into full-on rigor, then slack. I like to think about all those descending motor nerve pathways I’m mashing and the acetylcholine riot that breaks out in the neuromuscular junctions.
    But then I still feel a little bit bad…I sort of like frogs.

  14. says

    I’ve also similarly dispatched my share of mice (for monoclonal antibody production) and used the rat guillotine – first we’d swing the rat by it’s tail so it became dizzy/disoriented then we’d quickly slip it under the blade. The only good thing about the rat executions was that after we removed our organ of interest (liver), we took the remainders down to the raptor center. Pithing may be for sissies, but I’ve never had to do it. In my freshman bio class there was a girl who took unique pleasure in the activity and pithed -if not all – nearly all the frogs for the students in our lab section. I wonder where she is today – biologist or serial killer?

  15. Macrobe says

    I think it’s still less traumatic than killing piglets-in-a-bubble…. They’re very noisy.

  16. Kevin Conrad says

    I am a microbiology lab tech, no one seems to mind when I put the microbes in the autoclave. I must be soft though; there are 6 jars of river water from yesterday’s pond water lab on my back porch that I am going to return to a canal today. I respect the harvesters that allow us to learn and study biology but I would prefer not to have that job.

  17. Monimonika says

    My non-scientific (and admittedly woosey) experience with administering animal death:

    Imagine typical garage with the sloping roof where bottom of roof juts out beyond the garage walls/doors. Imagine it with vinyl siding underneath the jutted part. With a small hole on one side of the bottom part of roof, it’s the perfect place for squirrels to raise a family in.

    Based on the scratching sounds we hear from our attic, the squirrels are starting to get a bit too close to the inside of the house. My father and I decide to scare the pests out. No luck. Mother squirrel is one vicious piece of work (stripped the paint and a bit of the tip off our broom handle in seconds).

    One day we find that mommy squirrel has left the nest for a bit. We immediately start ripping off the vinyl siding. Lots of “stuff” fall on us, but we’re fighting against time here. We find the nest of itty-bitty little pink squirrel babies at the opposite end from the hole. What to do…

    Stash nest materials, “stuff”, and babies into large cardboard box. Fold box closed. Climb on top of box and crush everything inside. The high-pitched squeaks only lasts for 20 seconds, but my sisters run away in horror. I stay and help my father with the rest of the cleanup.

    There’s now no vinyl siding to support a nest in our roof (unless the squirrels learn the ways of the bat), but the damage by the chew-crazy squirrels is quite substantial (although they luckily didn’t get far enough into the real insides of the house).

    We’re not too worried about squirrels trying to get into the other hole in our roof, because even they aren’t crafty enough to handle an at-least-4-years-old active beehive.

  18. Elizabeth says

    I worked as an undergrad assistant for a genetics lab. My job was primarily to sort new litters, tag the new mice with ear punches and ear tags, collect samples for DNA extraction (we cut off about an inch of the tail), then extract the DNA, run some PCRs, and do electrophoresis.

    However, I also had to destroy any litters in which the parentage was unknown (usually if two males were put in a cage by mistake) and to help the grad student I worked for cull excess animals. We put them in plastic bags and then squirted carbon dioxide into them. It was a bit creepy when we did that for new pups, as they could survive a lot longer than the adults.

    When another grad student needed to sacrifice her animals to examine the organs, she’d place them in a container with dry ice to knock them out, then break their necks in a method similar to Theo Bromine.

  19. says

    All of these comments make me glad I went into structural biochem after the development of recombinant methods. I couldn’t imagine having to harvest my samples from an endogenous source.

  20. says

    HPLC_Sean: At least with the morbid parade less of the animal gets wasted.

    And as a philosopher I haven’t even done a dissection for 10+ years.

  21. Paul W. says


    I seem to remember a very striking ad from a bio magazine about 25 years ago, with a nicely-shot picture of a heavy-duty blender full of what looked like tomato juice, as you might see in a cooking magazine—but with the bold headline “One minute ago, this was a fully-grown rat.”

    If any bio geeks out there know where to find a scan of that, or the ad you mentioned, I’d like to see it.

  22. CCP says

    “heavy-duty blender full of what looked like tomato juice”
    sounds like Dan Aykroyd’s Bass-o-matic (R-in-a-circle) to me.

  23. says

    “First, you catch the mouse. Then, you hold it near the edge of the table with your thumb and forefinger just behind the ears. Give the tail a swift, firm tug and snap, the neck breaks, you’ve got a dead mouse.”

    Um, yeah, except for when the tail comes off in your hand, and you’re just left with a tail-less, squirming mouse that you don’t know what the hell to do with. Definitely made me long for the CO2 killing we did in my previous lab.

  24. says

    In a Comparitive Animal Physiology class we did some experiments on rat heart rate in the lab. They anesthetized the rat and then we had to put a breathing tube in, but the chest skin off, snip away the rib cage (careful of the lungs!), find the heart and spear it on a fishing hook attached to the force transducer. The whole point was to drip different solutions on it and graph the heart rate to see how it changed by treatment. Creepy, creepy, creepy. A live rat, chest cavity open, heart above it on a fish hook is not a fun thing to experience. Supposedly the rat didn’t feel a thing (and yes, we killed it at the end, assuming it didn’t die on its own first). I’m much more comfortable fixing Xenopus tadpoles.

  25. flame821 says

    This is why my Maine Coon lives like a king. When we moved into an older home that had been vacant for some time the vermin were a bit frightening. Two weeks after Mr. Kitty came home I wasn’t finding so much as a dropping.

    Hey, he’s designed by nature to munch on the little critters, I say ‘have at it’. Although hubby tends to have to rush to the bathroom when he sees Mr. Kitty walking about with the beasties, I grew up on a farm, hubby grew up in the ‘burbs, he’s not too good with the whole blood and guts thing. LOL

  26. RickDom says

    Am I a horrible person for thinking all of this is quite funny and giggling madly in my cubicle at work as I read it? Boy am I glad I’m an engineer.

  27. morfydd says

    “A frog lab I worked with would just put one blade of a pair of scissors in the frog’s mouth, and snip, off would come the top of the frog’s head.”

    Yeah, we did that in one of my biomedical engineering labs. After cutting off the top of the head, we would then destroy the spinal column with an awl. I mean, I would. The two guys on my lab team were too squeamish, so I killed and cut up the frogs, and they ran the voltmeter and did most of that analysis. (They were EE concentration, I was Materials Science.)

  28. says

    My golden retriever Roxie caught a rat yesterday. The dogs just stared at it, wondering whether to eat it or play with it. I was the one who had to bag it up and throw it away, since it was too injured to live.

    I figure it’s good for the overall rat population to get rid of the stupid ones that will come into a yard with two dogs in it. I mean, duh!

  29. Joe says


    I went into college to be a biology major and switched after having to do all that disection stuff: I came away after 7 years with a master’s in Geology.

    Beating on rocks with a big hammer wasn’t nearly as gruesome to me as your work.

    carry on biologists! I’ll read the results and learn about it when your done, please just don’t ask me to dissect!

  30. Opiwan says

    This is why materials science rulez and bioscience droolz! (Forgive me the slang). No goozy parts, just dirt. That’s right, all we ceramic scientist types do is work with highly refined, engineered dirt (well, the mineral part of it at least). I can’t ever remember hearing an alumina or barium titanate substrate scream when it broke, though they do make pretty cool ringing noises when you drop them right…

  31. says

    My father-in-law (who we’ll call K) was doing full-body protein assays on his rats, and needed a new meat grinder for the lab. During his lunch hour, he headed over to Sears and asked a clerk in the small appliance section where the meat grinders were.

    Oh no, says the clerk, you don’t want one of those – you want a food processor. Ignoring K’s protestations, he starts a demonstration – it chops, it shreds, it purees, yadda yadda.

    A crowd gathers to watch.

    Now, you’ve got to understand something about K – he does not suffer fools gladly, and he’s a firm believer in providing someone with enough rope so that they hang themselves quite thoroughly. So he waits, and watches as the clerk wraps up the demo.

    So, asks the clerk, do you still want a meat grinder? Yes, says K.

    The clerk wants his sale… Sir, may I ask what it is about the meat grinder that makes it better than a food processor?

    Well, you see, begins K, I’m grinding up rats, and when you use a food processor the skins get stuck under the blade and get wrapped around the spindle, so you have to dig your fingers in there and slide the skin on out or else the machine burns out, but with the meat grinder, it’s just point the nose in, turn the handle, and ziiiiip, out they come…

    Crowd flees. Clerk turns green. Meat grinder is produced. K returns to lab, satisfied with a job well done. Not once did he explain why he was grinding up rats…

  32. Chris says

    My mammalogy instructor taught us his preferred method of killing small mammals: thumb and forefinger press up below the ribcage, find the heart, and twist the aorta off the top of the organ. Worked great on voles and such. Then he tried to show us on a wood rat (Neotoma sp.) and it took him about 5 minutes of crunching the poor critter’s ribs to kill it.

    I’ve used CO2 ever since.


  33. says

    Eep. I used to have a pet rat who rode on my shoulder in my punkier days.

    It’s actually a good way to keep from getting mugged in rougher neighborhoods. No one is going to mug the mohican with a rat riding on her shoulder.

    I’m glad I’m studying anthropology! It’s not that I don’t recognize the necessity of work like this, but I think I’d be weeping the whole time I did it lol…

  34. says

    Remind me not to read Pharyngula after a big fat tuna salad sandwich lunch…

    …said the girl who became a vegetarian in high school largely to get out of dissections. (I got better.)

  35. says

    I remember that, as a freshgirl (?.. 1st year), I made a humanity student friend squirm and protest when I told her that Paramecia exploded after exposure to certain dyes (and how fun it was).
    She then admitted the fuzziness of her notions about the species, but well, they were animals, right?

  36. amutepiggy says

    I’m a tech in a neuroscience lab that does all sorts of wonderful things to our subjects.

    Firstly, we’re an addiction lab that studies accumbal neuron activity in rats using a cocaine self-administration model. In laymans’ terms, I put tubes in rat necks, wires in their brains, and then get them addicted to drugs.

    Secondly, once the neural data have been collected, we need to fix and harvest the brain tissue to determine proper placement of the electrode. It’s a nasty little technique called a perfusion: you anaesthetize a rat, crack open his chest, insert a needle and tubing into his still-beating heart, and replace all his blood with formaldehyde. You can tell you’ve done it right if he twitched as you perfuse.

    So, am I in the running for the Cruelty Prize?

  37. A.H. says

    During my first year of grad school I did a tour of duty in a mouse lab. They used a set of metal thongs at the base of the neck to pin the mouse down and gave a quick jerk on the tail to finish the trick. The PI was pretty good at the method you describe above too. I became used to the mice killing pretty quick. However once I ended up cutting fairly developed fetuses out the uterine horn of a female mouse I offed, if memory serves they were around 15 dpc. I was working under a disection scope and managed to cut the first few free without incident. However on about the third or fourth as I was cutting away the placenta the lil’ bugger gluped for air. Scared the living crap out of me.

  38. sharon says

    Wish I’d known the tail-pulling trick when our cat used to bring in the only-half-dead field mice so we could admire his hunting prowess. (In the middle of the night, of course.) But perhaps it doesn’t work when the cat’s already broken the mouse in the middle?

  39. Dianne says

    amutepiggy: You were, but you aren’t going to be any more when I tell you that I know someone who killed a rat by perfusion without anesthetizing it. The PI was scared of her after that. I kind of was too.

    I anesthetize my mice before breaking their necks by PZ’s method when I have to kill them. They’re usually dead after the anesthesia but since my next step is to remove their femurs I want to be absolutely sure they’re dead. There’ll be no woozy mice waking up without legs here, thank you.

    The punch line to this post is that I’m a vegetarian. My rationalization is that I don’t need to eat meat to survive and be healthy but the mice killing I’m doing might lead to development of drugs that will save someone’s life so it’s necessary. Ok, so I’m a speciesist. I value human life over mouse life.

  40. Christopher says

    Man, I’m glad I’m not a biologist. The dissections don’t bother me (The animal is dead by that time; It doesn’t care what you do with the body), and to be honest, althout the make me uneasy, I’m not even really all that bothered by the killings.

    It’s the inelegance that really gets to me; The techniques described here where, if you fail, you end up with a maimed and frightened animal really bother me.

    It seems like the least you can do for these animals is is give them a quick and semi-peaceful death.

    Not to mention I have have an objection to just smashing up such wonderful and intricated mechanisms as you have in most animals.

  41. iGollum says

    Microbiology grad student here – the only creatures I have to put to death are bacteria, I’m happy to say. Though while I’m at it, I like to make little sacrifices to the thesis deities; when I have to streak culture samples, I take just a bit too much on my loop, so when I sterilize it (dip in ethanol then into the bunsen burner flame) the excess culture pellet goes whooosh, engulfed in purifying fire… Bacterial Rapture! Or something. Ah, damn, I guess I should have been a religious fundie.
    I remember feeling great enthusiasm for dissections in high school too, especially the rat – we found a great trick to do at the end (probably a classic); you open the ribcage to expose the lungs (which by that time are looking like sorry little lumps of tissue) then incise the trachaea, insert the tip of a Pasteur pipette, and… blow. Orangey balloons, ahoy!

  42. David says

    In the late 50’s when I was a laddie, mom got me a job in one of the labs at Yale where she was teaching. One of the duties was to each day take mice from certain numbered cages and drop them in an ether jar til dead. Then cut open chest and remove heart and lungs, insert canula in aorta, inject plastic, tie off and drop in acid to remove all non plastic. Number and put away. Next.
    No clue what was being studied. Thought I was gonna be a surgeon some day, then got to college and chemistry said, maybe not and then a few jobs in surgery exposed me to real surgeons and next thing I knew I was a song and dance man and taking up Drama.

  43. Howard Hershey says

    Worst experience I ever had killing animals was when I was an undergrad and had to kill a dozen big m-f’ing male rats that had been kept on well past their expiration date and were none too friendly. Emptied their cages in a metal bucket in the incinerator room and tossed in some chloroform (back in the old days) and covered the bucket. When the scurrying sounds stopped, I took the bucket and tossed the contents into the incinerator.

    One raton, however, was only semicomatose. The flames immediately started him jumping — right at the door of the incinerator and right at me. The sight of a burning crazed large male rat coming at you is not pretty. I was quick, but not quite quick enough. The door closed half-way down the rat’s body but did not kill it. I had to wait for what felt like 15 minutes for the squeals to stop before opening the door and pushing that last rat in. Hope the SPCA doesn’t hear about that one.

    But it made me appreciate the true nastiness of witch-burning.

  44. says

    The SPCA weeps when they read this thread. They are blinded by the tears before they scroll down far enough to read your story, Howard.

  45. Eric says

    I teched for a year between undergrad and grad school and caring for mice was my primary responsibility. I used the same method PZ described–it seemed the most humane. For only a couple seconds would the mouse be feeling any fear. CO2 poisoning is a nasty method of sacrifice (unless you have a lot of animals to cull). Have you ever breathed a heavy dose of CO2? It hurts quite a bit. I’d rather have my neck snapped quickly than suffocate to death, writhing in agony.

    Since that lab was studying neurological development, I was also tasked with collecting mouse eyes and brains. Most of all, I collected embryos of various knockout crosses. For a year, I harvested probably an average of 30 per week, ranging from age E7.5 up to E19. So not only was I the bane of PETA, I risked the ire of sundry anti-choice groups.

  46. says

    Oh boy, Biology animal stories.

    Put a metal probe behind the skull, and pull the rat’s tail until it looks like a weasel. I had to help out a couple of the more squeamish students in that class.

    A friend of mine with a sick sense of humor in the Business classes asked to sit in on an animal lab one day. When I asked, the instructor hesitated. “He isn’t one of those Animal Rights types, is he?” I figured anyone who describes their culinary preferences as “Anything Dead on Bread” was safe.

    The teacher gassed the rat, broke it’s back, then snipped open the belly, then put it in the freezer for a moment. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a frost-free model. So when he goes to pull the rat out, he brushed the top of the metal ice-box, and a good chunk of the guts stick to the roof of the freezer like a horror-film variation of “A Christmas Story”. The students all moaned sickly.

    The visiting friend cracks up laughing.

    These days though, the only animals I butcher for a living are the “Happy Tree Friends”.

  47. says

    I’m not even a biologist, and I got to kill animals as an undergraduate research assistant. I worked in a quail lab, and most of the research they did was on sexual conditioning. They made models of female birds for the males to get all hot and bothered over. To make a model, I had to kill a female with a lethal injection, and then cut off the poor gal’s head, clean out the brain with a q-tip, stick one end of what looked like a popsicle stick into her skull, and the other into a piece of styrofoam that was then covered with terricloth. The important thing in all of this was to keep all of the neck feathers intact, because all the males really care about is the tail feathes. I never really enjoyed the “surgery” part of the job.

    However, to make up for it, I also got to give quail elicit drugs. That was fun stuff.

    Oh, and I always chuckle a little when I think about the rules related to killing research animals. If you kill a mouse in the lab, there are strict procedures to be followed, but if that mouse gets loose, and is roaming around the building, you can kill it however you like.

  48. says

    No, he didn’t eat the mouse. I disposed of it before the cat could.

    this was referring to a cat. wasn’t there a comment or even a thread on Pharyngula once which reported the interesting information that adult cats usually bring half-dead mice home, leaving them about as part of a behavior that’s intended to teach young cats how to kill?

    I am a microbiology lab tech, no one seems to mind when I put the microbes in the autoclave.

    yeah, i agree: bacteria need love, too. or at least that’s what i tell people who offer us a cuddly mammalian pet from some unplanned litter.

  49. Torbjörn Larsson says

    In biology class we dissected sundry stuff. I become quite the idealist a while after that, so the thought of killing animals for research didn’t appeal to me. I think that was why I steered away from biology even though I got a book reward for being among the best biology students. The fact that some areas in phys and math were harder for me at the time made them more appealing too, since I like challenges.

    But I got to figure out how to kill a raindeer.

    First you need to break one of its hind legs with your car. That is easy if it’s nightly winter ice roads, straight going, no traffic and a scared herd of raindeers emerges from the dark dead set on leaving the field on one side for the other. Since heavy breaking or swerving was out, I sent the last one spinning 10 m away.

    Broken leg confirmed, pop the trunk and get the car jack. Flip poor braying animal on side, knock it out with a punch to its neck with heavy jack base, flip jack and break neck with punch by pointy end. Check for no circulation. Done!

    Even though I’m no hunter since I don’t get any kicks out of killing, I must confess that the prospect of all that meat appealed to me. Alas, it was too late in the evening and I had still hours to go.

  50. Torbjörn Larsson says

    Two corrections:
    “I become quite the idealist *for* a while” – I have tried to grow up and look at the facts instead.
    “knock it out with a punch to its scull base at the back”, of course. In case someone has to repeat the procedure…

  51. says

    After reading all these gruesome explicit stories (wow, I had no idea what all went on!) I’d like to say how glad I am to hear the emphasis on putting an animal out of its misery. (Special kudos especially to the impressive and valiant (I mean it) reindeer killer.

    It seems like so many people, when considering ethics, think in absolute terms of “life” vs. “death”, whilst forgetting the middle (and to me, most important) approach — concern for suffering..

  52. Brian says

    I can’t believe how many people still use the cervical dislocation method. Our IACUC said that if they catch anyone doing that, they’re out.

    My most squeamish thing is retro-orbital bleeds. It just seems *wrong* to be sticking a sharp glass pipette into the eye of something that’s still living. But apparently there were some people here that were doing that without isofluorane. Now, that’s sick.