Animal welfare inspections based on suspicion 2015

Suspicion of animals being kept in breach of animal welfare regulations led to over six thousand inspection visits in 2015. The number of inspections increased with over 900 cases. As in previous years, slightly less than half of the inspections led to measures being taken by the authorities.

The proportion of authorities’ actions is constant

In about 31 per cent of the inspections based on suspicion in 2015, the animal owner or holder was issued with either an order to correct the observed deficiencies within a set timeframe or were prohibited from continuing the practices in breach of the animal welfare legislation. The purpose of these measures is to raise the quality of the animal care to the minimum level required by law. Serious negligence which required the authorities to take urgent measures to secure the welfare of the animals was detected in 9 percent of the inspections. In the case of larger animals, such urgent measures in the first instance usually involve giving the animals’ food and water and providing them with somebody to look after them. Smaller animals are mostly taken elsewhere for care. If it is not possible or practical to arrange care for the animals, they can be sold or put down.

The results of the animal welfare inspections based on suspicion are similar to the results for the previous years. Prohibitions or orders in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act were issued to 32-38 per cent of the inspected sites in the last five years. In addition, inspections that have led to urgent measures being taken in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act in order to ensure the welfare of the animals have varied between 6-9 %.

The most commonly inspected animals are cattle, dogs and cats

Considered per species there were slightly more inspections involving companion animals (4 200) than production animals (3 600). In the inspections of companion animals over half of the inspections involve dogs; the second largest companion animal group is cats. Also rabbits, reptiles, fish and different rodents have been inspected. The inspections of production animals involved mainly cattle, equine animals and sheep. Considerable numbers of pigs, goats, chickens and other poultry were also inspected.

As to the results reported per species it has to be noted that when there are several species at the site inspected, one visit will be reported as several different inspections. In addition, the animal species on the holding was not reported in over hundred cases. This group includes also the more unusual targets for inspection, such as for example zoos.

For production animal keepers the number of prohibitions or orders being given in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act has lowered from previous years (2014: 38 %). Urgent measures are seldom resorted to; last year urgent measures were taken in 3 per cent of the inspections. Prohibitions or orders have been issued to keepers of companion animals at only about every fourth inspection during the last three years. In 2015, violations requiring immediate action were reported in 11 % of the inspections of companion animals.