Local government thinks that veterinary services are functioning well


<p>Currently, there are almost 60 municipal control veterinarians working in animal disease and welfare control in Finland. Animal welfare control has become more effective after the creation of new positions for welfare control veterinarians.</p>

Veterinary service, which includes both veterinary care and control tasks, is organised as municipal co-operation in the co-operative areas for environmental health. There are about 70 co-operative areas, only five of which do not have a control veterinarian. The network of control veterinarians covers almost the whole of Finland.

The state compensates the municipalities for the costs of animal disease and animal welfare control. In connection with the implementation of the Act on Veterinary Service, funds were reserved to purchase 42 man years from local government. The municipalities have reserved the amount of resources deemed necessary, but all positions have not been filled yet. It is not possible to assess the real control capacity of the current resources until all the created positions have been filled. In addition to animal welfare and disease control, control veterinarians also carry out food control activities.

Basic veterinary services are provided by the municipalities

The Act on Veterinary Service requires that municipalities must provide emergency veterinary assistance to all animals at all times of the day. On-call veterinary service should be arranged in larger areas than is the case today, i.e. in areas comprising a province or at least a sub-regional unit. All units in an on-call area should have the same on-call phone number. There should be separate on-call services for production animals and pets. The goal of the on-call arrangements is to secure the availability and quality of urgent veterinary assistance all over the country.

The shared on-call phone number has been implemented in 80% of the municipalities. Less than 50% of the municipalities have arranged separate on-call services for production animals and pets. Separate on-call services need not be arranged if the animal density is low. Accordingly, the requirement is not relevant for all parts of the country. At the moment there are four provincial on-call areas, while the other areas are of the size of a sub-regional unit or smaller. Consequently, on-call areas should be made larger.

The Act on Veterinary Service obliges municipalities to meet the demand for preventive veterinary services for production animals. The municipalities will independently assess that there are enough veterinary services, including health care services, available throughout the country. Health care for production animals is mainly provided by municipal veterinary officers. A large part of the veterinary care of pets and horses is carried out by private service providers. Veterinary services in excess of the basic level are mainly provided by the private sector.

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

Further information:
Sanna Hellström, Ministerial Adviser, Animal Health and Welfare, tel. +358 50 576 0471

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