For Immediate Release:
January 17, 2024
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Los Angeles – Stray kittens as well as dogs and cats seeking good homes and found through online ads and Facebook posts have ended up caged and repeatedly bled at a facility that says it supplies blood to locally based VCA Animal Hospitals, a breaking PETA undercover investigation reveals. The Veterinarians’ Blood Bank in Indiana confines nearly 900 animals to barren kennels and severely crowded pens, where the constant din of barking is deafening, and draws their blood every three weeks—even from animals who suffer from infections and cancer—while coaching staff to keep the operation “hush-hush.” Video footage is available here, and photographs are available here.
PETA has sent a letter to VCA Animal Hospitals—which had an estimated $2.5 billion in annual sales as of June and operates primary care, specialty, and emergency facilities across the country—alerting the corporation to its findings and urging it to obtain blood only from healthy dogs and cats who live in homes with loving families.
PETA’s video footage reveals that some animals kept captive at the blood bank were emaciated; that many had pressure sores and growths from being forced to lie on hard floors without respite; that dogs were seen with wounds after being attacked by stressed kennelmates—including one who developed a deep infection of the skin and underlying tissue, causing a massive wound that still hadn’t healed seven weeks later; that cats with respiratory infections were still bled; and other atrocities. Even senior animals and those too small to be used for blood collection were warehoused indefinitely. As one worker said, they “stay here until they die.”
Jane, whom a manager had planned to leave at “a barn out in a field” because she was too sick to be used for blood draws
“Animals at this supplier are treated like live blood bags, serving a life sentence amid deafening noise and in barren pens, denied a home or family, and deprived of needed medical attention and any semblance of joy,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on VCA Animal Hospitals to immediately reexamine its relationship with this crude and cruel operation and any other blood bank that imprisons and exploits animals until they take their last breath.”
A manager offered workers $200 for each cat they brought to the facility, saying, “Where you get [them] from is not my business.” She said that she had acquired other cats from online ads seeking a good home for them. After a worker brought in kittens she said she “found off … Facebook,” one died, apparently having received no veterinary care. A manager said that workers aren’t blamed for animals’ deaths, stating, “They’re replaceable.”
PETA’s investigator persuaded the facility to let them adopt some of the animals held there, including Vivi, a 4-pound cat who cried out in pain from a lingering mouth infection for which she was denied adequate veterinary care. The investigator rushed her to a veterinarian, who determined that her mouth was so infected that all her teeth had to be removed. They also adopted Kolbie, a 12-year-old hound who was born at the facility and had been subjected to a “horrible” debarking surgery (during which, a worker admitted, animals “bleed so bad” and that was performed only because the blood bank’s owners wanted to keep dogs quiet). And they adopted a cat named Jane, whom a manager had planned to leave at “a barn out in a field” because she thought she had feline herpesvirus, and another cat named Fox, who was 13 years old and had bloody diarrhea that had evidently not been treated. After his adoption, a veterinarian determined that Fox had gastrointestinal cancer, so he was euthanized.
PETA has also alerted the other large veterinary chains that The Veterinarians’ Blood Bank lists as clients to its findings and asked the Indiana State Board of Animal Health to investigate the facility for apparent violations of state law, seek an injunction stripping it of its license, and pursue other ways to protect the hundreds of animals still confined there.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.