SACRAMENTO — Senate Bill 1115, introduced by Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) and sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation, has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee with a 4-0 vote. The bill, which will allow commercial blood banks to produce blood from community-sourced donor animals and eventually phase-out the closed-colony production model, was one of the first to be heard since the California State Legislature resumed proceedings after a very long recess due to COVID-19, according to an animal rights activist group.
When a human needs a blood transfusion, the blood comes from donors that gave their blood at clean, safe facilities. Many people have not considered where animal blood is sourced. SB 1115 will allow for families to volunteer their happy, healthy dogs for blood donations, just as humans volunteer to donate blood. Sadly, current California law requires that only animals kept in captivity ("closed colony") for the sole purpose of giving blood are allowed to donate for commercial purposes, per SCIL press release.
SB 1115 is in response to the 2019 veto of SB 202 by Governor Newsom, who requested the legislature send him back the same bill but with the addition of a phase out of "closed colony" blood banks, per the release.
“California faces a shortage of animal blood products and we have an opportunity today to ensure a more robust supply of blood without housing more animals in traditional animal blood donation facilities,” Senator Scott Wilk, the author of SB 1115, said in the release. “Human blood donors go home to their families after donating; animal donors should be treated the same way. California is woefully behind the rest of the Nation on this matter, which is why I introduced the Doggy Donor Bill.”
“Today, there are animals in cages in California being kept specifically to serve as sources of blood for sale,” added Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation in the release, which is sponsoring SB 1115. “Many pet owners would allow their dogs and cats to donate blood in a safe, clean environment in order to expand the sources for animal blood and to get animals out of cages. I want to thank Senator Wilk for his leadership in continuing to champion this humane effort.”
While community-blood donations are legal in 49 states and have proven to be safe, SB 1115 mandates that the production of all animal blood and blood component products are blood-borne pathogen tested and drawn in a manner consistent with current standards of care and practice for the field of veterinary transfusion medicine, per the report.
“The possibilities are endless, including modeling the Red Cross mobile blood banks,” said Dr. Karen Halligan in the release, Chief Veterinarian of the Lucy Pet Foundation, and SCIL Board member. “SB 1115 is good for California veterinarians, it’s good for California cats and dogs, and it’s good for California pet owners.”
The phase-out provision of closed-colonies will be dependent on community-based blood banks producing enough blood to avoid a gap in blood supply in the State. The California Department of Food and Agriculture will decide based on blood production reports from all commercial blood-banks, both closed-colony and community-based.