Paws Up! To Senator Scott Wilk and Assembly Member Richard Bloom for leading a bipartisan effort to shut down captive donor blood banks in California.
September 3, 2021
An often overlooked and forgotten necessity for our animals in times of medical crises is donated blood. Just like humans, many times dogs with traumatic injuries or serious medical issues need blood for life-saving surgeries and procedures. Like humans, dogs have specific blood types and can only accept blood of their assigned types. Dogs can have a variety of over a dozen different blood types, but the most important of them all is a type called DEA 1. If a dog tests negative for DEA 1 blood type, their blood can be given to a majority of other dogs. Approximately 80% of greyhound dogs are negative for DEA 1, which is the reason they are often labeled the “universal blood donor” for dogs. Most often, this blood is donated by “volunteer donor dogs” at dog blood drives in their communities. Not long ago, however, this was not a volunteer practice, but a compulsory one.
Many canine blood banks operated “captive closed colonies” which consisted of groups of dogs–often retired or rejected racing greyhounds due to their universal blood type–caged for several months in laboratory facilities as they had their blood drained from them. This blood would then be sold to veterinary clinics and animal hospitals around the country. The majority of these awful facilities are shifting to a more humane and voluntary donation model, much like human blood donor drives.
California, however, is the only state that prohibits veterinarians from using blood from community volunteer blood banks, restricting them to purchase the blood from these cruel facilities where dogs are treated like machines.
California Senator Scott Wilk and Assembly Member Richard Bloom have spearheaded AB-1282 the California Pet Blood Bank Modernization Act which would allow veterinarians to set up community volunteer blood banks. Once the supply from the voluntary community blood banks meets the demand, the captive colony facilities would become obsolete, and the caged dogs would be placed in loving forever homes.
If you are interested in learning more about your dog becoming a volunteer blood donor, contact your veterinarian to find out if your dog is eligible and where to donate.