Blood Pet Industry:
Issues and Legal Regulations

December 27, 2021Zihao Yu

Introduction

“Blood Pets” is a black industry which is discovered and reported recently in mainland China. The blood cats or blood dogs are raised for selling their blood for medical treatments for other animals commercially. This is cruel and fatal for the animals if they lose their blood beyond the safety point. This article discusses the issues and legal regulations for the blood pets industry in mainland China.


The dark side of the industry

When animals are in need of blood transfusion under medical treatments in the pet clinic or pet hospital in mainland China, it is difficult for the owners to find a proper source for pet blood. Different from human blood donation, there is no blood bank for the storage of animal blood. Besides, there is no mechanism for the storage and transportation of animal blood. Human paid blood donation is prohibited by law, but for animals, the blood donation can be either paid or unpaid. In this situation, the only way to get the animal blood is to find a proper donor who is willing to donate suitable animal blood in the same clinic or hospital. The price for perfect matched animal blood can be extremely high depending on the economic strength of the owners and the urgency of saving animals’ life. Therefore, the industry of raising animals for paid blood donation appears in mainland China driven by huge interests.


The cost of getting one animal for the industry is extremely low in China. Some animal owners can get their animals at a very low price from informal breeders, or shelter, even unregulated food industries in certain areas. These animals are always kept in small cages without proper nutrition and health supply. Sterilization is not applied to the animals in order to breed more animals for the blood supply.


The frequency and amount of animal blood donation usually exceed the safe threshold. The “nutrition fees” are taken by the owners for their own profits instead of the nutrition supply for the animals. After donating blood, the animals are weaker and more likely to get sick, and some animals may die after the overdose of blood donation. In the long run, the animals will be in poor health conditions. Once the animals cannot provide enough blood, they are killed or abandoned by the owners.

"Stray Dog" by Chris Hunkeler is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Legal regulation

Under the law of mainland China, the welfare and rights of companion animals are not protected. The animal laws in mainland China now only cover wildlife animals, livestock, animal testing, animals for scientific research, and animals in zoos.


Read our blog: Animal Law in China.


Generally, cats and dogs are categorized as personal property under the Civil Code, without any special protection or legal arrangement. The owner has the rights of possession, use, benefit, and disposal of their animals.


In the jurisdictions with anti-cruelty laws or animal welfare laws, overdose blood donation can be recognized as cruel conduct towards animals that may cause unnecessary harm, pain, and death, and harm animal welfare. The owners' liabilities are regulated by anti-cruelty law or animal welfare laws.

From another perspective, the donors can be regulated as animal hoarders. The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) identifies the following characteristics as common in all hoarders:

1) Accumulat[ion] of a large number of animals, which has overwhelmed that person’s ability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, and veterinary care;

2) Fail[ure] to acknowledge the deteriorating condition of the animals (including disease, starvation, and even death) and the household environment (severe overcrowding, very unsanitary conditions); and

3) Fail[ure] to recognize the negative effect of the collection of his or her own health and well-being, and on that of other household members


“Hoarding is generally prosecuted under state animal cruelty laws. In most states, it is a misdemeanor offense, but in some states, it may be a felony offense. Penalties for the offense can include fines, animal forfeiture, and jail time.” Read more about animal hoarding here.


California Animal Blood Donors Bill

In California, there is a new bill for animal blood donors. “Existing law prohibits any person from collecting blood from animals, or preparing, testing, processing, storing, or distributing blood or blood component products, as defined, from animals, for retail sale and distribution except in a commercial blood bank for animals that is licensed by the Secretary of Food and Agriculture. Existing law requires a commercial blood bank for animals, as a condition of licensing, to document how the animal donor was acquired and to have a written protocol for, among other things, ongoing veterinary care for animals held in blood donor facilities.”


Those animals kept in facilities for commercial blood donation are recognized as “blood slaves” by animal rights activists.

"Caged." by phip_s is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Conclusion

The industry of paid animal blood donation needs to be regulated by laws in order to maintain the basic rights and welfare of the animals for their health and lives. However, the lack of animal blood for medical treatments cannot be solved only by regulating the industry. The animal blood banks and unpaid blood donation systems and database for animal blood information shall be built. Besides, animal owners shall be educated to donate blood to their animals and others. It is still a long way to go to make the animal blood donation in a healthy, cruelty-free, and sustainable way.

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