A record number of animal welfare inspections were carried out on the basis of suspected non-compliance


<p>Suspected non-compliance of animal welfare regulations led to more than five thousand inspection visits in 2012. Even though a larger number of inspections resulted in no action than has been the case in recent years, more than two thousand inspections resulted in an intervention from the authorities.</p>

Animal welfare inspections on the basis of suspected non-compliance are an important part of overall animal welfare control. The number of these animal welfare inspections has increased significantly in recent years. Municipalities have received funding from the state which enables them to appoint control veterinarians; this has increased the opportunity of municipalities to inspect those operators whose animal care falls short of the animal welfare legislation. As well as control veterinarians and other municipal veterinarians, provincial veterinarians have also carried out a lot of the more challenging inspections.

Increased control resources are reflected in the number of inspections carried out

In 2012 veterinary surgeons reported having undertaken approximately 5,100 inspection visits, which were used to check on the care and conditions received by production animals and domestic pets. Before control veterinarians were appointed, thanks to the new Animal Welfare Act of 2009, approximately 2,500 inspections were carried out on the basis of suspected non-compliance. In the two years since the law became effective, the number of inspection visits rose to more than four thousand.

Despite the number of inspections growing, acts of neglect have not decreased significantly in relative terms. On average, every other animal welfare inspection has in recent years resulted in an intervention by the authorities. In 2012, the relative share of these types of inspections was 42 per cent.
Action by authorities involves bans and orders issued to the owner and, in more serious cases, urgent measures taken by the authorities. These measures are intended to ensure that the conditions, care and handling of these animals are brought to a statutory minimum standard. Serious neglect resulting in urgent measures was detected in approximately 460 cases, i.e. nine per cent of the inspection visits.

The target for inspection is most often dogs, cows or horses

Besides numerically, the results of the inspected targets can also be observed by animal species. Both pets and production animals were inspected more frequently than before. As in the previous years, inspections of pets were targeted predominantly at dogs, cats and rabbits, as well as different kinds of rodents. Of production animals, cows, horses and sheep were most frequently inspected. Pigs, goats, chickens and other poultry were also inspected in substantial numbers.

The number of measures targeted at production animals has remained almost unchanged for several years, even though the number of inspections has increased year by year. In 2012, bans or orders were issued against 45 per cent of the inspected production animal farms, which was exactly the same number as in the past few years. In cases involving production animals, urgent measures were needed in slightly fewer (4%) cases compared to previous years. 25 per cent of cases involving pets were given orders to fix detected faults within a stated timeframe, which is slightly fewer than in previous years. After several improved years, cases involving urgent measures have once again approached the levels of previous years (11%).

Further information:
Evira.fi > Animals > Animal welfare > Animal welfare control > Animal welfare inspections based on suspicion of violation > Animal welfare inspections based on suspicion 2012

For further information, please contact: 
Sanna Varjus, Senior Inspector, tel. +358 (0)40 489 3355 
Taina Mikkonen, Section Head, tel. +358 (0)40 830 8404

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