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I am looking for possible ways in which a vampire could obtain blood to feed in an modern urban fantasy setting explicitly without harming humans or other sapient beings. Parameters for this question are as follows:

  • "Harming" as defined here includes voluntary victims. No vampire wannabes who want to be bitten, a lover letting them drink their blood, etc.
  • The setting is essentially the present day. Stereotypical masquerade rules apply. Society at large is unaware of the vampires and while the government does know it doesn't give them blood wellfare, small numbers of individuals are allowed to know at a personal level (e.g., humans who know vampires personally). Vampires live alone or in small groups.
  • The vampires aren't fantastically wealthy. They are more or less average people, so they can't just throw money at the problem until it goes away and bribe anyone who looks at them funny.
  • The vampires in question are utterly biological. No walking corpses, no supernatural “life force” they consume to explain why they are drinking blood, no immortality (their lifespans are the same as humans), no "mind whammy to forget feeding", no nothing. Basically just a humanoid species that drinks blood. Anything that goes for a real vampire bat goes here. Mentally they are basically human and try to pass as such, hence them looking for options for blood that do not involve harming others.
  • How much blood is needed each night is not that much of an issue. I realize that blood is probably the least nutritious substance in the human body by weight (being 80-90% water), and that it is probably not possible to feed a warm-blooded human-sized organism with a large, nutrient-hungry brain on blood alone, given that vampire bats barely manage to avoid starving to death most nights. I am more looking for possible avenues that vampires could get blood rather than whether or not a particular source is efficient or the viability of a stereotypical urban fantasy masquerade. However, I realize by this definition they could feed on lab mice and that would satisfy the criteria. If metabolic parameters are absolutely necessary, let's go with...low enough that they can exist but high enough that they can't just feed once a year like a python and the whole thing is a non-issue.
  • There are no limits to where the blood can come from. Animal blood, human blood, blood from still-living organisms, stored blood. Anything that can be used to feed a real blood-drinking animal (vampire bat, biting insect, lamprey) is acceptable. The only caveat is that it can’t be taken from live human donors. So no “draining the innocent in their sleep” or “only drinking the blood of criminals”, and so forth.
  • Crime is to be generally avoided if possible. The vampires are trying to fit in to society, murder is out, something like "rob a bank and use the money to buy blood" is out, but discreet stuff like drinking someone else's livestock as long as you don't get caught is okay. They basically just want quiet lives and would prefer to do things legally if at all possible.

Although preserved blood in blood bags fits the parameters, I think swiping blood bags from a hospital might be right out. Mostly because getting access to said blood bags in the first place isn't likely to be easy and hospitals tend to notice these kinds of things if they are done often enough. Additionally, doing so greatly increases the risk of getting a bloodborne pathogen. Plus I hear there are lots of preservatives in it to keep red blood cells from dying.

One option I have often heard suggested in these stories is eating extremely rare steaks and other meats. However, it turns out most of the “blood” in rare meat is myoglobin, and that the blood is drained from the animal at the slaughterhouse before it is butchered and sold. The myoglobin is in the meat cells so it can’t easily be gotten rid of. Would myoglobin be digestible to a blood-drinking organism like a vampire bat?

Another option I have heard of is that milk is produced from the body’s blood. However, I have also read a lot that says that it isn’t, and at best you can say it’s only metaphorically true because it’s made from the same nutrients that the bloodstream carries to all parts of the body. But by that logic all the flesh and secretions in the body have to be considered “blood”. You can have blood in milk, but it usually means the animal is sick or hurt.

The best options I can think of are:

  1. Preying on wildlife like deer or raccoons
  2. Doing what real vampire bats do and sneak into livestock farms in the night to lap up blood from cuts on their ankles. Zoos are another option, but those animals are supervised for unusual wounds pretty closely by the keepers.
  3. Blood from slaughterhouses, though I don't know how easy it actually is to get blood from them despite the prevalence of vampires getting blood from slaughterhouses in fiction
  4. Internet? Dark web?

However I am not sure how well these work.

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    $\begingroup$ You ever meet a person who said "I operate a slaughterhouse"? If not maybe it's because they drink the blood they drain from animals before killing them and they work in those nice cold, cozy place without windows so no daylight. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 29 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ Can't vampires eat blood sausages? $\endgroup$ – castor Jan 29 at 10:03
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    $\begingroup$ You can just get blood from a butcher. This is in the movie My Best Friend Is A Vampire iirc. People make food from blood. It's not common everywhere, sure, but it's common in many cultures. $\endgroup$ – Schrodinger'sStat Jan 29 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ I don't quite follow the "no voluntary victims" part, since taking blood is not necessarily harmful. Some people donate blood to the Red Cross every 8 weeks with no harm done to them whatsoever. Why can't the vampire find a small number of people who will give them their blood for $50 and a cookie? This would harm no one, require low capital investment, and inform only a few people. $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Hoagie Jan 29 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ "asking for a friend" $\endgroup$ – ti7 Jan 31 at 17:16

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Since you say it doesn't have to be human blood, they would just straight up buy frozen animal blood by the bucket at supermarkets like nobodies business. No need for any fancy subterfuge or specialized trickery of any sorts, it's a perfectly ordinary, boring grocery.

Might be a cultural thing, but here in Norway blood is trivially available. I'd imagine it wouldn't be unfeasible to find this in most places. Blood here is used to make traditional recipes like blood sausage or blood pancakes for example. It's incredibly nutritious after all, even for us mundane non-vampires.

Attached example shows a 0.5L bucket of it, costs about five bucks or so at a local store here. Not exactly cheap as far as ingredients goes I suppose, but far from being out of range for any normal income individual.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ That was my first thought when OP said it could be animal blood. Just buy the stuff from a shop or online $\endgroup$ – Richard Jan 29 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm, I'm from Germany and just buying pure blood is absolutely not an option. But blood-based sausages absolutely are, so just make a front company that specializes in those and you can buy it on an industrial scale. So perfect answer $\endgroup$ – Hobbamok Jan 30 at 13:01
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    $\begingroup$ I would vote this as the answer, except most of the supermarkets where I'm from don't sell blood either. It's not illegal, though, and there are a number of specialty markets that probably do sell blood in some form to make blood sausage or seonji. I suppose the answer to that issue would be "vampires don't want to live in a country where it's legally difficult to get blood". Nevertheless, I really liked this answer, and wanted to mention that. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Jan 30 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ Norway... Blood... Vikings... Asgard... Klingons... Now it all makes sense. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Hobbamok I'm in Germany too, but disagree with you. You can buy fresh blood in Germany at butchers. Or order it online (fresh, but slightly frozen to keep fresh for delivery). Costs about 3.15€ per liter. So 5x the price of milk. Can be used for making your own blood sausages or dietary needs if you are a vampire. Buy blood here $\endgroup$ – Skalli Jan 31 at 15:52
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However, it turns out most of the “blood” in rare meat is myoglobin, and that the blood is drained from the animal at the slaughterhouse before it is butchered and sold.

and

Blood from slaughterhouses, though I don't know how easy it actually is to get blood from them despite the prevalence of vampires getting blood from slaughterhouses in fiction

are not at odds. In fact, the solution. Let's examine:

  1. Slaughterhouses will deal with a lot of blood.
  2. Vampires want blood.

Conclusion you assumed - vampires would have to somehow have dealings with a slaughterhouse to procure blood and avoid suspicion afterwards. This seems...complicated to pull off for a variety of reasons. How about the much simpler:

Vampire operated slaughterhouses

They work as normal but just get the blood. And can re-sell it to other members of the vampire community. The vampires operating the slaughterhouse and others dealing with them can easily pretend it's a religious prohibition. Doesn't need to be exactly Muslim, they can use other religious or just claim they are a separate sect.

  • Vampires avoid scrutiny from real religions, if the processes don't seem quite the same as normal.
  • They avoid suspicion from normal workers: if you have a policy that all blood needs to be collected and deposited somewhere safely, that seems strange. If you say that, say, a religious leader has to perform a rite to "cleanse" it before disposing the blood, then they won't really bat an eye. It sounds slightly odd but no more than just halal food, really. The blood can then be moved and used as needed.
  • Vampire clients avoid suspicion, either. They go in for a "special steak" and get a complimentary container of blood in a brown paper bag. Or special house sauce. There would need to be some screening process for vampire clients - if they can be recognised (via some means), then it will be easier. If not, they just need to set up some codewords to establish legitimacy.
  • The people working the counter need to be "in the know" for this to work but it's not hard. Either have a vampire selling, or a trusted normal person. Nobody should even be suspicious that only some people get to handle the sales. Oh, geez, only people management seems to trust a lot are given the responsible task to handle money and clients? Who would have guessed. Additional cover can still be provided with the religion, as well. Just say the teller is "ordained" (or equivalent) to exchange the cleansed meat for money. Again, not even that strange in the grand scheme of things.

There you go - you have your false religion, and a false front for conducting business that all sounds quite believable. And it's only some parts of the business that need be falsified - they can still just meat as normal. The business can even start up easily by offering better prices for animals. This ensures local farmers will tend to sell to the vampiric slaughterhouse, thus the vampires should never run out of stock.

Addendum: I mentioned hiding behind religious practices quite heavily. This might be dropped. The primary purpose is

  • to give the people operating the slaughterhouse plausible way to ask their (likely non-vampiric and non-aware of vampires) workers to deposit the blood somewhere.
  • there is also the matter of sanitation requirements - if a health inspector comes in and asks "why aren't you disposing of the blood according to regulation 47-15-A?" then the slaughterhouse can claim they do but their religion requires them to consecrate the blood. Still a plausible way to avoid government oversight catching wind of something.

I'm just wary of rising undue suspicions.

A secondary reason is to just give the vampires another excuse to hide some of their peculiarities (if any). "Sorry, I don't drink...beverages. I'm fasting" or something similar. This isn't a big thing, as there are plenty of non-religious excuses one can use, if needed, but it's just a side-benefit.

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    $\begingroup$ A vampire slaughterhouse? Seems like that would be a risky business. I think the steaks/stakes would be too high. $\endgroup$ – Neil Jan 29 at 11:15
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    $\begingroup$ Fun fact: blood is still something to sell. you can make all sorts of useful stuff out of it, like meat glue (1). So the Vampire running the slaughterhouse just needs to "strike a deal" with "someone who pays good money" and "will pick up the jerrycans at the end of the day, definitely not wearing a false moustache" (1) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… $\endgroup$ – Borgh Jan 29 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ I love this idea, but I don't see the need for the ritual aspect of it. A new slaughterhouse that performs rituals not associated with any ancient traditions would certainly draw some attention. Just start a run of the mill slaughterhouse, establish an in house blood disposal method (drain the blood into that barrel...) and tell the non-vampire employees that a night crew comes to clean up. This night crew could be a few vampires and/or a few trusted individuals that transport the blood to a locked area of the facility where it is packaged and shipped to certified buyers. $\endgroup$ – WillRoss1 Jan 29 at 16:38
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    $\begingroup$ Instead of a slaughterhouse, just run a small business making blood sausage/black pudding. Much smaller scale, it can easily be a 'family business' with no external people involved while still getting reliable daily deliveries of blood from slaughterhouses and as long as you don't drink it all and actually sell some product, there's nothing shady to look at. $\endgroup$ – Peteris Jan 29 at 22:44
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    $\begingroup$ Why would a policy that all blood needs to be collected and deposited somewhere safely seem strange? It's the same with meat and other products that the slaughterhouse sells $\endgroup$ – Blueriver Jan 30 at 2:19
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Dog hoarder.

Dog hoarder.

https://www.atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/97-dogs-rescued-hoarding-south-fulton-now-many-ready-adoption/

Dog hoarding happens. And a dog hoard (horde?) would be a fine place for a vampire to get blood. Dogs are pretty tolerant. If a dog learns that a cuddly feeding episode correlates with some tiredness afterwards but a lot of hamburger that she does not have to share with the horde, dogs will be cool with giving blood. If you have 97 dogs each one comes up for rotation infrequently.

Acknowledged: small dogs might have to team up.

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    $\begingroup$ Good idea, and it would probably work. But keeping 97 dogs sounds awfully complicated, expensive and environmentally unfriendly. $\endgroup$ – Michael Jan 29 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ +1 My aunt and uncle run an animal hospital, and they keep great danes as pets specifically so they can be used as blood donors. $\endgroup$ – David K Jan 29 at 17:44
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    $\begingroup$ Seems like it would be easier to raise rabbits or rats - less hassle, less noticeable by the general public, and hopefully they can breed fast enough to keep a constant supply. $\endgroup$ – Pugmonkey Jan 29 at 19:53
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Blood banks...

...also kosher meats, and other sources of meat preparation.

In a society where vampires are trying to be normal peoples with different diets, and integrating into society, blood banks may open a restaurant side business. Rare and delicious blood types might be worth a premium price, Ebay and Amazon would start a blood section, and other social adjustments would occur. Not to mention the criminal underground.

Kosher meats are specifically prepared by draining the blood, however since the religion also prohibits the drinking or eating of blood, I'm not sure how they would feel about sharing.

Other places of meat preparation would probably be willing to accommodate, if they made enough profit on it.

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    $\begingroup$ Donated blood is still scarce everywhere in the world. Going for blood banks could be considered indirect harming, by depriving people in need from life-saving blood. It might be a solution to go for AB+ blood (universal receiver, useless for donations on any other type), but in my country at least, they don't even take AB+ donations most of the time, because they're very little need for it. They just tell you to go home if you want to donate. $\endgroup$ – Teleporting Goat Jan 29 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ Masquerade rules: society in general doesn't know about the vampires. Blood banks wouldn't know that vampires existed in order to open a side business for them. Same might go for kosher slaughterhouses. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Jan 29 at 17:25
  • $\begingroup$ The preparation of kosher meats is not significantly different with regards to blood than most beef or poultry preparation (slaughterers already drain the vast majority of blood), except for the fact that a marginal amount of remaining blood is removed and discarded by rinsing, soaking, salting, and rinsing the meat again. The only thing the extra steps of the kosher preparation process would provide would be discarded water with a little blood dilutely mixed in. It is only non-kosher slaughterers that would even retain blood (for the purpose of supplying makers of blood sausage). $\endgroup$ – Jacob C. says Reinstate Monica Jan 29 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ Donated human blood has a short shelf life, and quite a bit of if gets discarded as it gets too old. Just make sure it gets discarded in your direction. $\endgroup$ – Stig Hemmer Jan 30 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ This answer broight to you by the word "shibolleth"... The loretelling opportunities for remixing this with Jewish culture are out of this world... Handled tastefully of course... $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 14:46
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First, why can't it be blood donated by live humans? The American Red Cross and various affiliate donor organizations bank thousands of gallons of the stuff every day. The willing donor doesn't have to know their recipient is a vampire. Most modern-day vampire stories involve the use of medicinal blood as a food source that doesn't involve human injury.

If animal blood works, slaughterhouses would love to sell drained blood from slaughtered cattle. Some of it is used to make niche foods, like blood sausage and blood puddings, but the vast majority is handled as "inedible" and ends up sold to rendering plants for basically nothing. In fact in many cases the rendering plants charge for pickup of their own source material, and then sell the results back to those same farmers as animal feed, food-safe machinery lubricants and other products; there aren't many businesses on this planet that earn money coming and going like this, and almost all of them have had Mike Rowe invited in for a look.

If some foodservice company goes to Cargill or National Beef and offers to buy clean, food-grade, whole beef blood from their slaughterhouses at \$5 a gallon, ostensibly for some niche delicacy in mainland Asian cuisine (but in reality they turn around and sell it to vampires for \$5 a pint), you bet your bottom dollar those slaughterhouses would agree to just about any precaution required in collecting it from the animals as it drained from the stunned cow or pig (e.g. cleaning/sanitizing the neck before draining the animal, collecting the blood in food-safe sanitary tanks, segregating by compatible blood antigens if not per animal).

A single beef steer averages about 10 gallons of blood, so we're talking about an extra $50 each, and the companies I mentioned process tens of thousands of animals every single day. 20,000 animals (conservative for many of the larger slaughterhouses) times \$50 additional revenue for each animal's blood carefully harvested represents a million dollars a day in additional revenue. You could hire an entire department of people at that slaughterhouse, maybe 100 steady paychecks, for 4-6 months' worth of this revenue, and take the other half straight to the bank. I know of no successful company that would turn their nose up at these kinds of returns on what's currently a waste byproduct.

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  • $\begingroup$ I posted a similar answer above, but for your question for the character's its less about what's the ethically and logistically optimal solution and more about personal issues of them feeling like they're decent people. They don't want to see the people around them as food. Something like blood bags are distanced enough from the source that they aren't thinking about the person's face when they eat. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Jan 29 at 21:14
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Vampire society should develop multiple sources of blood, to help reduce suspicion and eliminate single points of failure:

  • If it needs to be raw whole blood:

    • A few people working in blood banks who discreetly expropriate expiring blood about to be discarded and donations flagged "do not use" by people who know they aren't safe donors but are socially pressured to donate(*) at, say, a workplace blood drive.
    • A few farmers who bleed live cattle (adapting traditional Maasai practices for modern equipment)
    • A few sausage-makers who buy blood from slaughterhouses, along with all the other parts they use, and divert part of the blood to feeding vampires.
    • A few slaughterhouse operators who save some of the blood for their community instead of selling it to sausage makers, fertilizer companies, pet food makers, etc.
    • Some move to Finland and simply buy cartons of frozen pig or cow blood at the grocery store. (You'd probably need a vampire working as a food wholesaler to keep this discreet at scale.)
    • Buy organic blood from that small organic slaughterhouse that isn't big enough for the dog food companies to work with.
  • If it's just that important nutrients can only come from blood:

Lots of sources of blood. Lots of ways to be discreet and fly under the radar. How do you know there aren't already vampires among us?

(*) I haven't donated blood in years because I fainted the last time I did, but the checklist I filled out had a box for "do not use my blood". I suspected at the time that it was primarily for closeted gay men.

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Overall, there are a handful of ways for a vampire being to acquire their blood source, likely all previously stated by others. In general, they amount to:

  • Directly from a human (Explicitly Forbidden by Question)
  • Indirectly from a human, such as a blood bank
  • Directly from another animal (Not expressly forbidden, questions of sapience arise)
  • As a byproduct of something, such as an abattoir or butcher
  • Through Science!

Other Issues

As the question mentions the traditional Urban Fantasy MasqueradeTM, there are three critical questions as to how best to do this:

  1. How connected are those in the know?
  2. Do they have any of the standard vampire weaknesses?
  3. How fresh does the blood have to be?

The first point is actually more critical since logistics come into play at this point. A small cluster of a dozen or so will have different needs and abilities than a country-wide network of several thousands in a variety of positions. While the question does mention that they tend to live alone or in small groups, it is about how connected to each other those small groups are and as such how well they can pool their resources.

Second, they will have to work around their racial weaknesses. If they can't be in the sun, then obviously they are going to work nights or from home, which may make certain methods easier or harder as the case may be. The questions mentions that they are all biological, but are there things that they have to watch out for?

Farmer/Breder

Assuming that other animals can survive periodic blood donations the same way that we can, then by farming some manner of livestock a vampire can feed on the live animals while they are taking care of them. If there are horses on the farm , then they too can be tapped as well. The trick is to not tap any single animal too often.

As a single family operation, the vampire will have a supply of blood so long as there is enough animals to rotate through for donations. A larger corporate farm might even be able to support a small group of vampires. Depending on how stealthy the feeding vampire is, then you can do an effective feeding while the livestock sleeps for the night and nobody would have to be bothered by it. This creates a self-sufficient food source that you can breed to keep the lineage going.

The main drawback here is that if you have a sunlight allergy, then some farm work will be difficult to do at night. This is what hired farmhands are for. That or humans in the know about your true nature so that nobody will bat an eye as to why the boss only comes out at night to do work.

An animal breeder, such as one for dogs or cats, would function in a similar way. Just different rules and regulations to consider. Also the sustainability numbers will be different.

Abattoir Owner / Butcher

This has been mentioned enough that I will not elaborate much on this.

What I will note is that considering that this is a world where vampires are a thing, it will be more likely that blood will be sold and not discarded or given away. The slaughterhouse might not know that they are selling it to a vampire, but they know that the blood is in demand and they can get a decent price for it compared to our regular world. This is a logical consequence of worldbuilding in this case.

Given the larger volume of blood collected here, this is a good initial point for a blood logistics system. If it can be preserved and bottled for individual use, then the blood can be distributed to more people. There may be regulations involved in shipping it though. Perhaps a small-scale packaging operation alongside the meat processing areas?

As part of a logistical solution, they could get their livestock from the vampire farmer, and help each other out that way too should they be in contact with each other

Professional Embalmer

While this one is perhaps banned by the question, if the freshness of the blood is less of an issue, then a vampire embalmer could drain a deceased's blood by consuming it in the process of embalming the deceased's body. If the blood was to be drained anyways, then it might as well be put to use. How they do it will vary according to their morals and qualms about this.

Technically, it is not harming a human as they are already dead. In addition, so long as the next of kin consents to the embalming procedure, then the vampire is following the wishes and desires of the people in charge of the body. So long as they resist the temptation to blood drain the people that deny embalming, they are good.

Side note: This might be the last request of a person that knows a vampire well -- to bequeath them their blood. The propriety of such a bequeathal is another matter outside this question. Your worldbuilding may vary.

This will probably really only works for a single vampire unless they run a wildly successful funeral home or otherwise have enough work in order to keep multiple beings fed in this manner.

Blood Supplements

If science can determine what in the blood that a vampire needs to survive, then it is plausible that it can be created synthetically. Once that happens, then blood needs could be reduced to a pill or meal supplement drink, or some other kind of medicinal treatment.

As the original question eliminates the need for an abstract "life force" for them to feed upon, that would indicate that their need for blood is based off of some chemical that is in blood. If that chemical can be found, then it can (hopefully) be synthesized.

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Help people with haemochromatosis

People with haemochromatosis, or "the Celtic Curse" absorb too much iron in from their diet. The effects can be controlled with regular blood donation. Since it's not a blood disease, the blood is considered safe for donation.

Without treatment, people with haemochromatosis can suffer from chronic fatigue, muscle aches, arthritis, fertility problems, and cancer. Regular donation is part of the treatment.

It might be a casual thing, or your vampires could set up a specialist clinic. The incidence is about 1 in every 200 people of Northern European descent. In a large town (say 100,000) with a lot of German (or Dutch or Irish) immigration background (say, 30% of the population), you could very reasonably expect around 150 of these "superdonors". Scale the town up if you need more. :)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-09/haemochromatosis-provides-a-positive-spin-off-for-blood-banks/10594100

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Why not work for a diagnostic lab? One where blood and blood products are tested. When they are discarded from healthy test subjects, the vampire feeds on those. Should be a massive amount of blood available.

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  • $\begingroup$ With the small size of samples this would be more of a "candy shop" than a "restaurant", but plausible nonetheless. $\endgroup$ – JPhi1618 Jan 31 at 19:09
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I have found the following idea in one volume of Dylan Dog:

The vampire works in a hospital, during night shift (to avoid exposure to sunlight) and uses transfusion blood bags to get an ethical lunch without harming humans.

He behaves like an eccentric lonely man, so that nobody questions his preference for night shifts.

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    $\begingroup$ Assuming that using up transfusion supplies for a snack doesn't harm humans only works if there's a massive surplus of the stuff, which usually there isn't. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Jan 29 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ Seems super risky. Draining blood from victims would be noticeable. To reduce the risk one can drain a smaller amount from more patients. So, you reduce the risk of somebody finding a patient seems to have less "blood" than usual but you increase the risk of somebody noticing the draining process. It's enough for one patient to wake up at night and you might be discovered. The problem is scalability, too - this can work for one or a few people but with a dozen or more, it becomes really hard to keep it covered up. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 29 at 11:19
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    $\begingroup$ @VLAZ, nowhere I mention draining blood from patients. I mention only blood bags. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 29 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I missed that detail. In that case the non-sustainability and discoverability still remain. You now have to cover up theft of medical supplies. Hospitals tend to keep tabs on what they have or not. Even if you manage to falsify the records (or whatever), having more than one person drastically increases the complexity of this task, as you have (at least) double the amount you need to cover up. That changes it from the odd bag here and there missing, to potentially multiple a day. Seems like even if you falsify records and stuff somebody would eventually realise usage is too much . $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 29 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ Keep in mind blood is under extremely tight controls. Every bag of blood has a separate type and cross, and the blood bank won't ship blood until it is barcoded for a specific patient who has also had type and cross data done this week. It's also back coded all the way back to the donor. Further, you can't infuse a patient without 3 witnesses - the normal nurse, a supervisor, and the patient, and the patient's own name must be recited letter by letter. It would be extremely hard for general staff to swipe bagged blood. I never knew why, until this question. The more you know :) $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 14:54
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  1. Operate a fake mobile blood donation van. Kind of illegal I'd assume, and certainly a lot of work even if licensed. Significant startup costs.
  2. Assuming blood sausages aren't sufficient 'bloody', then just buy the blood from bloodbuy.com instead.
  3. Don't bother hoarding dogs. Plenty of 'normal' people are farmers with a few cows (sheep, goats, whatever). Sure, it does require a few acres and a few cows, but I can't think of a more quiet and unassuming life where no-one would think twice about your lifestyle or what you do for food.
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  • $\begingroup$ Hoard cows or chickens. When I lived in the country, we had like five neighbors who did thqt, and nobody thought it was weird or called the SPCA. $\endgroup$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 31 at 14:51
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Perhaps they have figured out how to make artificial blood. Maybe it's not good enough to be used as a blood substitute in humans, but still safe and effective to drink.

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If the blood doesn't have to be particularly fresh, you could try raiding body farms. These are research facilities where donated corpses are left outside, exposed to the elements, so that forensics researchers can study the effects of decay on human (and sometimes other animal) remains. Unlike, say, a morgue at a hospital, it should be considerably easier to sneak into these locations late at night (which if you're a vampire is pretty much a given anyhow, unless you're going with Twilight-style vampires or some other day-walker route).

It's not glamorous, since the bodies are likely to have been sitting around for a while, and possibly have been picked at by other scavengers, but it's still a pretty easy source for blood that doesn't involve killing anyone, as the victims are already dead. The only thing to worry about is making sure you move around to different locations, or else the researchers might start to notice their subjects' blood loss to be proceeding more rapidly than expected.

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They would probably be drawn towards professions that encounter death regularly: hunting, veterinary practice, farming, the meat industry, certain kinds of medical care and of course, war. All of these sectors could provide opportunites to sneak some blood while nobody is looking.

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Operate a vertically integrated testing lab.

These are the places, every town has one, where you go to get routine lab testing done. You go in, they call your number, they sit you down, draw a couple of vials, they make you watch them stick barcode stickers with your name, and they send you on your way. The next few days the results show up at the hospital.

What's actually happening is several times a day, a runner gathers up vials from 3-4 locations to a central location where they're run through the testing machines.

A lot of the space in the vials is spare blood for if a test is botched. So you collect a little more still. That other lab uses 10ml vials, you use 15ml.

"Vertically integrated" means the same company does both the collecting and the testing, and handles the blood all the way from collection to ... disposal.

In fact, a company called Theranos entered that testing space, and made quite the splash.

enter image description here

Theranos's embattled CEO.

The company was since exposed as fraudulent, and shut down. Certain reasons for the shutdown were given to the public.

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