The veterinary blood banking industry is not without its growing pains.
A lengthy legal battle between Animal Blood Bank Inc. and Sun States Animal Blood Bank serves as one example of industry conflict.
The dispute, which revolved around trademark rights to the phrase “animal blood bank,” came to an end in December after more than two years in court, says Larry DeLuca, EdD, MD, president and director of Sun States. In the end, Animal Blood Bank Inc. maintained its rights to the phrase.
DeLuca says that Sun States plans to change its name to Sun States Blood Banks for Animals.
Perhaps the issue of greatest contention within the industry is that of closed-colony blood donors versus volunteer donors. Closed-colony programs are mandated by California law. But blood banks across the rest of the country operate under varied business models.
“At Midwest, we see the advantages of both systems,” says Anne Hale, DVM, owner and director of Midwest Animal Blood Services Inc. in Stockbridge, Mich.
“We have successfully run a canine volunteer program since 1995. However, in addition, we have in-house donors. This has allowed us to work with the rescue community in Michigan and provide a working solution for cats and dogs. Our in-house donors live and work with us for 15 months and then adopt to a pet home.
“I do not believe that in-house donor programs are cruel as long as care and enrichment are provided,” Hale adds.
Hale says that American Assn. of Veterinary Blood Banks’ standards provide for both closed-colony and owned animal donation.
“AAVBB believes that donors should be well cared for, strongly enriched and not overused, if in a closed colony,” she says. “AAVBB strongly supports a clear line of declaration regarding the donor acquisition, maintenance and disposition while in the closed colony.”
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