Veterinary services are provided both by local authorities and private veterinarians and veterinary stations. Veterinary services organised by municipalities are primarily the responsibility of statutory environmental health protection cooperation districts. Implementation of and compliance with the Act on Veterinary Service and its provisions are directed and monitored by Regional State Administrative Agencies and Evira. “The national programme on monitoring animal health and welfare and veterinary services organised by local authorities” sets out the guidelines for municipalities for organising veterinary services.
Municipal veterinary services
Under the Act on Veterinary Service, the local authority is obliged to organise veterinary services and a system of monitoring food safety, as well as ensuring that resources exist to monitor animal health and welfare, which is the responsibility of the government.
The local authority must provide basic veterinary services for utility animals. These services must also be organised for other domestic animals, if they are not otherwise available in the cooperation district. One of the aspects of basic veterinary services is preventative healthcare of production animals. In addition, the local authority must organise emergency veterinary assistance for all domestic animals 24 hours a day.
If it so wishes, the municipality may also voluntarily organise more advanced services than basic veterinary services for domestic animals, such as various specialist veterinary services.
The municipality may also purchase the basic veterinary services and emergency veterinary assistance from a private service provider.
Private veterinary services
Private veterinary services are provided by private veterinarians and veterinary stations.
Before commencing operation, a private service provider must notify the Regional State Administrative Agency. The staff of a company offering veterinary services must include a licensed veterinary surgeon who is in charge of the operation. A private provider of veterinary services must have suitable and appropriate premises and equipment for the type and extent of the activities, as well as suitably qualified staff.
Municipal and private veterinary services are subject to the Act on Veterinary Service (765/2009) and the subsequent Government Decree on Veterinary Service (1031/2009).
The Act on practising veterinary medicine (29/2000) lays down the required qualifications, rights and duties of a veterinary practitioner.
The Act on environmental health protection cooperation districts (410/2009) stipulates that local authorities must organise veterinary services as part of environmental healthcare in sufficiently large environmental health protection cooperation districts by the year 2013.