California Finally Ends Cruel “Dog Blood Bank” Harvesting Practices
It’s a victory in California for dogs and the people who love them! Governor Gavin Newsom just signed California Assembly Bill 1282 into law, which will finally allow the state to forgo its requirement that transfusion blood come from caged warehouse dogs.
Until this ruling, California was the only state that required blood sold for veterinary transfusions to come from two privately-owned companies: Hemopet and Animal Blood Resources International. These companies keep hundreds of donor dogs at their facilities for the sole purpose of collecting their blood.
Naturally, this injustice fueled many activists’ fire. After years of attempts to remodel the state’s dog blood banking industry, the new bill will ease the suffering of the dogs being inhumanely stored and constantly pricked. This victory is long-awaited.
About The Bill
California Assembly Bill 1282 will allow the pet blood banks to operate like human ones do, under a voluntary model. No more “blood slaves!” California Assemblyman Richard Bloom, author of the bill, said during a hearing in July 2021:
“These community blood banks for animals are similar to human models in that they collect blood from pets whose owners voluntarily consent to the donation. California is the only state in the country that requires animal blood to come from so-called closed colonies that keep hundreds of animals confined for years for the sole purpose of harvesting their blood.”
A previous bill was vetoed by Governor Newsom in 2019 because, while it allowed individual owners to volunteer their dogs, it still allowed those two private companies to continue operating. Newsom wanted to see a bill that would completely phase out dogs being “kept in cages for months and years to harvest their blood for sale.”
This bill evidently does that! After the bill passed the Legislature, veterinarian Dr. Jeannine Berger, who is also senior vice president with the San Francisco SPCA, said:
“I am very excited to see California take this step. Veterinarians regularly face a lack of lifesaving blood and blood products to respond to emergencies, leaving animals and families in deep — and avoidable — distress. With Gov. Newsom’s signature on AB 1282, California will reduce the suffering of many animals and the people who love them.”
What The Blood Harvesting Companies Have To Say
Many wonder how Hemopet and Animal Blood Resources have been able to do what they’re doing. Their operation seems cruel and inhumane. Both companies insist that closed-colony blood banks ensure a consistent and safe supply of blood with minimal exposure to pathogens and diseases.
Greyhounds particularly suffered under this cruel practice. Previously, the owner of Hemopet was on record as saying their facility houses 200 greyhounds as blood donors. This breed is typically chosen as donors due to their docile temperament and their universal blood type.
Animal Blood Resources International also claimed the new bill would detrimentally impact the dog blood supply. Lobbyist for the company, Jeffrey Leacox, said at a July hearing:
“We remain concerned that pets in California and their owners will not have the blood products they need after the trigger is pulled.”
Naturally, activists strongly disagree. They hope to see an increase in the blood supply now that the doors are open to volunteer animals.
Animal Rights Organizations Call’ Victory’
PETA, who previously investigated Hemopet and saw the poor conditions the dogs endured, celebrated the signing of the new bill. PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch said in response to the passage of the new law:
“Cheers went up at PETA today at the news that California is finally phasing out the operation of hellish facilities like Hemopet… Thanks to Gov. Newsom and the state legislature, California can soon welcome community blood banks, where healthy dogs can make a lifesaving difference for others and then return home to their loving families.”
PETA isn’t the only group celebrating. The Beagle Freedom Project, who also heavily advocated for this bill, excitedly shared on Twitter:
“BFP NEVER gives up until we get what the animals deserve, and that is complete and total freedom!”
Remember, collective action and advocacy work. Welcome to the right side of history, California!