By Christine Lambert
On February 19, 2020, Senator Wilk introduced SB 1115 (Wilk) which would amend, add, and repeal various sections of the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to commercial blood banks for animals. Senator Wilk introduced a similar bill in 2019, SB 202 (Wilk), which was vetoed by Governor Newsom because it did not go far enough to protect animal blood donors. Senator Wilk’s new bill, SB 1115, would make additional changes to the Food and Agricultural Code that further regulate veterinary care of animal blood donors, as well as additional requirements for animal blood bank licensing.
Of note, this bill would impose three detailed requirements, which the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) must verify before issuing a license to a commercial blood bank for animals: the establishment must (1) operate under conditions that are consistent with the standards of care and practice for the field of veterinary transfusion medicine to ensure that the animal blood and blood component products will not be contaminated, dangerous or harmful; (2) produce animal blood under the indirect supervision of either a California licensed veterinarian or a qualified person in the field for a commercial blood bank for animals licensed before January 1, 2019; and (3) maintain onsite records documenting how the animal was acquired and any history of blood draws or use of anesthesia on the animal.
According to the author’s press release, the bill is intended to address ambiguity in existing law that has led to a relatively limited regulatory scheme for animal blood banks. Currently, CDFA only approves commercial licensure for “closed-colony banks,” which house dogs and cats for the specific purpose of taking their blood. 49 other states already allow for the more humane community-based blood banks, and this bill will bring California in line with the rest of the nation. The release quotes Senator Wilk, stating, “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.”
SB 1115 is currently pending before the Senate Agriculture Committee and has also been referred to the Committee on Judiciary, and the Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development for further review.