Wilk introduces animal blood donor bill after SB 202’s veto

Scott and Vanessa Wilk with rescue dogs, Simi. left, and AV. Dan Watson/The Signal
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After Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a similar bill last year, state Sen. Scott Wilk announced Wednesday a measure aiming to increase California’s animal blood supply and transparency to animal blood banks. 

Senate Bill 1115 would allow commercial blood banks to produce blood from community-sourced donor animals and phase out the closed-colony production model. 

“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,” Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said in a statement. “SB 1115 will allow for 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.”

The proposal would also call for transparency and oversight to animal blood banks as the state’s current law “has led to a relatively limited regulatory scheme for animal blood banks,” a news release on the bill read. 

“Animals kept in captive-closed colonies, the main source of animal blood, are housed in cages for up to 23 hours a day and deprived of companionship, stimulation and exercise,” Judie Mancuso, founder and CEO of Social Compassion in Legislation, said in a statement. “Most animal guardians would be appalled if they knew these circumstances and would gladly have their dogs give blood if it freed other poor dogs kept in captivity and totally deprived of a normal loving home.” 

In 2019, Wilk’s SB 202, which is similar to SB 1115, was vetoed by Newsom despite its support in the Legislature. 

Newsom’s veto stated SB 202 did not go far enough to ensure the safe and humane treatment of donor animals. 

“The governor stated in his veto that he wants to shut down the closed colonies,” said Wilk. “That’s fine but we already have a shortage of animal plasma so we have to be strategic on how we do it. The new (measure) is like the old one but we will have to figure out a metric to use on when it’s the appropriate time to close colonies.” 

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