California Close to Legalizing Community Blood Banking for Animals

For immediate release:
Assemblymember Bloom and Shannon Keith, CA Attorney and President of the Beagle Freedom Project

September 1, 2021 (SACRAMENTO) – Today, the California State Senate approved Assembly Bill 1282, the California Pet Blood Bank Modernization Act, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) and Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R - Santa Clarita), along with Assemblymembers Kevin Mullin (D – San Mateo), Devon Mathis (R – Visalia), and Chad Mayes (I – Yucca Valley). AB 1282 seeks to address both the shortage of animal blood for veterinary transfusion medicine and the obsolete, inhumane practice of requiring blood to come from captive closed colony blood banks in California. AB 1282 authorizes California licensed veterinarians to operate community blood banks to produce and sell or transfer animal blood and blood products.

Currently, voluntary community-based blood banking isn’t allowed in California. Instead, California is the only state in the country that requires animal blood to come from so-called “closed colony blood banks” that source blood from animals kept, housed, or maintained at a facility for the purpose of collecting their blood. These closed colony blood banks require hundreds of animals to be in cages for years while their blood is routinely harvested with animal blood demands only increasing.

“This has been a three-year animal welfare policy reform effort that is now one step away from being implemented. I am elated that we are finally on the verge of replacing a long-standing inhumane practice and with a model program that will ensure the safety proper treatment of animal blood donors in California,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “I am optimistic that Governor Newsom will sign AB 1282 into law soon.”

“As they say, the third time is a charm," Senator Wilk continued, "This is a long overdue and needed reform for commercial animal blood banks. I am glad to see this change - that will save pets’ lives - finally become law.”

Supporters praised today’s preliminary vote of 37-1, which sends AB 1282 back to the Assembly for one final concurrence vote before it goes to Governor Newsom’s desk.

“Thanks to Assemblymember Bloom’s leadership and the broad support of the state legislature, California is poised to showcase its ethical and humane treatment of animals by allowing community-based animal blood donations and freeing dogs who are held captive in cages,” said Shannon Keith, California attorney and President of Beagle Freedom Project. She continued, “Every other state in the U.S. allows this volunteer model, and it has proven not only successful, but efficient and a wonderful way to enhance the human-animal bond.” 

“I am very excited to see California take this step,” said Dr. Jeannine Berger, a veterinarian and a Senior VP with the San Francisco SPCA. “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 Governor Newsom’s signature on AB 1282, California will reduce the suffering of many animals and the people who love them.”

"After three years of working on opening up community blood banks for animals and phasing out the warehousing of caged canine blood-slaves in the state of California, we are elated the Senate voted to pass this bill today," said Judie Mancuso, founder and President of Social Compassion in Legislation. "We thank Assemblymember Bloom and Senator Wilk for their tireless leadership on this issue, and look forward to Governor Newsom signing this into law, opening up new business in our state while treating animals humanely.”

Other supporters of AB 1282 include the California Veterinary Medical Board, the California Animal Welfare Association, Best Friends Animal Society, San Diego Humane Society, ASPCA, Valley Humane Society, Cruelty Free International, Animal Legal Defense Fund, In Defense of Animals, Project Minnie, and GREY2K USA.