Capitol Alert

Caged canine blood colonies face new restrictions under proposed California law

California lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday aimed at creating a more compassionate, transparent process for canine blood donation.

The state Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 202 that defines private blood-collection facilities operating in the state as “captive closed colonies,” and creates a funding mechanism for the creation of “community-sourced” blood banks.

The bill also requires that commercial animal blood banks to disclose more records through and requires that all feline and canine donors be tested for blood-borne pathogens.

“I’m proud to be the author of SB 202, which requires testing of animal blood before transfusions — just the same as we do with human blood — and mandates for the first time that a licensed veterinarian oversee its collection, while allowing pet owners to bring their dogs in to volunteer,” Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said in a statement. “This bill will not only increase the available blood supply, but provide a more humane alternative for animal blood donors.”

The bill was co-sponsored by the group Social Compassion in Legislation.

“Imagine a dog living its whole life in a cage just to have its blood drawn, never knowing love or freedom,” SCIL CEO Judie Mancuso said in a statement. “Many pet owners would allow their dogs and cats donate blood in a safe, clean environment in order to help add to the state’s blood supply and help eventually end closed-caged colonies.”

SB 202 marks the second victory for SCIL in as many days; on Monday, senators unanimously approved a bill banning circus performing animals in the state.

Both bills will now move on to the State Assembly.

SB 202 passed through the Senate nearly a month after The Los Angeles Times published its report exposing the secret animal blood bank industry operating in the Golden State.

“California cloaks the state’s two licensed animal blood banks — both privately owned and commercially operated — with sweeping exemptions from public records laws, with the state allowing the facilities to craft their own standards on how animals are cared for and then keeping all records under seal,” according to the Times.

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