SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announces he has introduced Senate Bill 1115 (SB 1115), a measure that would increase California’s animal blood supply by allowing for community based animal blood donations. This change will save pet’s lives as California’s current system allows for only two closed-colony blood banks, a system so restrictive it has resulted in a critical shortage of animal blood for pets in need. SB 1115 will also bring additional transparency and oversight to animal blood banks in California.
“Pets die every day simply because there is not enough animal blood in the system. With SB 1115 we have an opportunity to save pets’ lives by ensuring a more robust supply of blood and phase out the current system of caging blood donor animals,” said Wilk. “SB 1115 will allow for a community based blood donations which means healthy animals, under the supervision of a veterinarian, can donate blood and then, like their human blood donor counterparts, go home to their families when done.”
Ambiguity in existing law has led to a relatively limited regulatory scheme for animal blood banks – leading the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) only to approve commercial licensure for closed-colony banks, which house dogs and cats for the specific purpose of taking their blood. Forty-nine other states already allow for the more humane community based blood banks, and this bill will bring California in line with the rest of nation.
In 2019, Senator Wilk authored Senate Bill 202, a similar measure that was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom despite receiving unanimous support in the legislature. In his veto message the governor stated he was “supportive of changing California's law governing animal blood donation” however, SB 202 did not go “far enough.”
“I have been working with stakeholders to address the governor’s concerns when he vetoed my legislation last year. In his veto message he stated that it did not go ‘far enough’ to ensure the safe and humane treatment of donor animals,” said Wilk. “We can all agree that the safety and humane treatment of donor animals is critical and that adequate oversight and enforcement are in place to meet these goals, so I am optimistic we will find common ground as we continue our dialogue.”
Senator Wilk is working with Social Compassion in Legislation, a leading animal welfare advocacy organization, and other animal welfare organizations on SB 1115.