Considering the recent press regarding the alleged mistreatment of canine blood donors used by an isolated blood bank, the Association of Veterinary Hematology and Transfusion Medicine (AVHTM) is stating our stance regarding animal blood donor conditions and treatment.
While the AVHTM cannot independently corroborate the video provided by PETA, and therefore cannot comment specifically on The Pet Blood Bank (Cherokee, TX), we find the video supplied illustrates conditions that we would consider unacceptable for any blood donor program and unsafe for the blood supply.
The AVHTM is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) non-profit professional organization dedicated to scientific advancement and education in veterinary hematology and transfusion medicine. Our members including veterinarians, veterinary technicians, hematologists, and blood bank professionals who are dedicated to the health and welfare of the veterinary patients we serve and the blood donors that provide life-saving blood transfusions.
We recognize that animals provide blood donations in a variety of settings, but the health and welfare of these donor animals is always of the utmost importance. Standard of care within veterinary blood banking dictates that donors must be healthy and have exemplary preventative veterinary care including an up-to-date vaccination status, as well as appropriate heartworm, flea, tick, and intestinal worm prophylaxis. It is also essential that these animals are provided with housing that is comfortable, sanitary, and replete with enrichment opportunities.
The AVHTM fully supports and promotes the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Animal Welfare Principles and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) consensus statement for blood donor screening for blood-borne pathogens.
While we are not a regulatory agency, and while no current guidelines exist specifically related to the housing and treatment of animal blood donors, the AVTHM, in collaboration with the veterinary professional community, is invested in the long-term goal of developing veterinary blood banking standards and guidelines. In the meantime, we urge all veterinary professionals purchasing blood products from blood banks to inquire about the housing and treatment of their donor animals and to ensure humane management of their own blood donors as per the above-mentioned guidelines.