Actor Urges Organization to Endorse Community-Based Blood-Donor Programs Following PETA Exposé
For Immediate Release:
December 3, 2018
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Chicago – This morning, Emmy winner Lily Tomlin sent a letter on PETA’s behalf to the heads of the Illinois-based American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) urging them to act in response to PETA’s recent eyewitness exposé of Hemopet, a canine blood bank and sham rescue facility that warehouses approximately 200 greyhounds bred for and discarded by the racing industry.
In the letter, Tomlin urges the AVMA to advise veterinarians not to source blood from “closed-colony” facilities such as Hemopet, where dogs are confined to tiny crates and barren kennels for up to 23 hours a day and bled every 10 to 14 days for 18 months or more, which is considered unacceptable by veterinary standards. She notes that adopting this policy recently became more urgent: Florida residents recently voted to end greyhound racing, meaning that hundreds—if not thousands—of dogs will soon be discarded and at risk of being held captive for blood.
“Most decent vets have no idea that dogs are being confined in this way and would not support such a scheme,” writes Tomlin. “Ethical blood programs rely on donor dogs who live in homes—these animals get off the couch so that they can be taken in to donate blood once in a while, and then they get a treat and a pat on the head and go home.”
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
Tomlin’s letter to the AVMA follows.
John de Jong, D.V.M., President
Gail Golab, Ph.D., D.V.M., Director of Animal Welfare Division
American Veterinary Medical Association
Dear Dr. de Jong and Dr. Golab,
Dogs have always been a big part of my life, and I’ve certainly been in and out of veterinary offices a lot, so I hope you will listen to my appeal to you.
Veterinarians are trusted to care about animals and prevent needless suffering. That’s why it’s imperative that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) take a position against the warehousing of dogs (commonly greyhounds) for blood donations. Ethical blood programs use donor dogs who live in homes—these animals get off the couch so that they can be taken in to donate blood once in a while, and then they get a treat and a pat on the head and go home. Some of these programs have more dog “donors” than the need for blood, by far.
Last year, an exposé by my friends at PETA led to the closure of The Pet Blood Bank, a hellhole kennel in Texas, and they’ve just exposed Hemopet, an “adoption” blood bank where about 200 kenneled and crated dogs are kept so that their blood can be sold to veterinarians. Most decent vets have no idea that dogs are being confined in this way and would not support such a scheme.
The greyhound racing industry is the main source of dogs at Hemopet and similar facilities. Because of the recent vote to end greyhound racing in Florida, hundreds—if not thousands—of dogs will be discarded in the coming years. The need for the AVMA to take a clear stance against keeping these and other dogs captive for blood is more urgent than ever.
Most veterinary clients look to the AVMA to ensure that no animals are suffering needlessly, but dogs confined to blood banks certainly are. Will your organization please issue a formal policy statement advising veterinarians not to purchase blood from “closed” blood banks and encourage the profession to use in-clinic, university, and other community-based blood donor programs that collect this vital resource from healthy companion dogs who live in loving homes as all dogs should?