California passed a law that allows licensed veterinarians to run community blood banks where dog owners can have their pets donate blood. Veterinarians can then sell and transfer the animal blood or blood products where it is needed.
The California Assembly Bill 1282 or the California Pet Blood Bank Modernization Act was approved by the state assembly on June 2021 and was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 9, 2021.
It seeks to address the lack of animal blood supply for veterinary transfusion medicine and also put a stop to the inhumane practice of captive closed colony canine blood banks.
Assemblymember Richard Bloom, one of the authors of the bill said, “the legislature made progress in sessions to envision a path forwarding to expanding the supply of blood for dogs through a voluntary model similar to human blood banking.”
Out With The Old
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) praised the new law, citing it as a historic triumph for animal rights activists that have long fought for the phasing out of closed colony blood banks.
California is the only state in the country that allows animal blood to be sourced from these blood banks that kept animals housed in a facility for the sole purpose of collecting their blood. Hundreds of animals are caged in these facilities for years, sometimes for life, while their blood is routinely harvested.
PETA exposed one such facility in Garden Grove, California called Homepet, where massive amounts of blood from confined Greyhounds were regularly collected every 10 to 12 days. The blood is then sold to veterinary clinics all over North America and Asia.
Greyhounds in these warehouses are housed in very small cages that they can hardly move. They are only let out for about an hour every day for a walk and locked up for the rest of the day for several months, or for life.
Various skin diseases abound among dogs, and diseases, like anemia, are prevalent due to the constant bloodletting. Blood collected from the diseased dogs is still indiscriminately sold to unsuspecting veterinarians which would then be transferred to other dogs.
In With The New
The efforts of PETA and other animal rights groups paved the way for the California legislature to enact a new law that would permit community-based blood banks to operate and collect blood from animals who live with their guardians.
The change comes at a time when the demand for animal blood increased for dogs that are sick or in need of emergency surgeries. Community banks are common in other states, except in California where it is not allowed prior to the passing of the law.
Daniel Paden, Vice President of PETA, said about the community-based blood bank, “whether you are talking about a Greyhound who was run on tracks in the South or a dog who has been homeless on the streets, you want these animals to live in a home with a loving family.”
He added, “if they’re physically and behaviorally healthy, and amenable to going to the vet to donate, then it’s a remarkable service to provide to other dogs.”