California Vets Hope to Free “Blood Slaves”
California veterinarians are urging the state legislature to follow the lead of other states and outlaw “closed-colony” animal blood banks in California by 2022.
“The current situation in California is egregiously unbalanced,” says the letter. “Hundreds of dogs — including many who have already endured months or years of suffering in the greyhound racing industry — are kept confined for months or years in situations that range from inadequate to appalling. Lack of sufficient oversight and inspection coupled with a lack of transparency has resulted in years of suffering by dogs in California’s closed colonies.”
California’s commercial blood banks provide most of the blood and related products that America’s veterinarians use for veterinary care.
“There is no public appetite — nor compelling veterinary necessity — for continuing this model, however much effort could go into reforming them. We have a tested, viable alternative that is fundamentally sounder at balancing the interests of all affected parties, canine and human alike.”
A hearing on Assembly Bill 366, by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, was slated for Wednesday, March 27, before the Assembly Agriculture Committee, but that hearing has been rescheduled for April 10.
The California Veterinary Medical Association opposes the bill, according to a letter sent to the committee.
“The CVMA continues to have concerns with the intent of the bill to close the colony-based blood banks in California and replace them with the community-based model,” it says. “This could jeopardize the source for all animal blood and animal blood products for the veterinary practices in the state.”
AB 366 would also remove the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s authority to inspect commercial blood banks, which it considers important to maintaining the health of the blood supply and animals alike, the letter said.
California has just two commercial animal blood banks — the for-profit Animal Blood Resources International, which has offices in Northern California and Michigan, and the nonprofit Hemopet. Together, they provide the majority of the nation’s animal blood supply for veterinary needs.
Each organization has said that its donor animals are happy, healthy, well-cared for and are adopted to good homes when their service is done.