Sheep and goat production are small-scale in Finland, with a good disease status


<p>Due to its small scale, the chances of spread of infectious animal diseases within Finnish sheep and goat production are low. Low numbers of imported live animals and gametes reduce the risk of diseases arriving in Finland.</p>

Around 3,000 livestock owners keep sheep, goats or both. However, most producers have only a few animals. Sheep and goat farms are relatively rare, making it unlikely that livestock diseases will spread into neighboring areas.

Room for improvement in biosecurity
Biosecurity on sheep and goat farms is below the level of that in pig and cattle holdings, for example. Restrictions in the movement of people and livestock, and the more widespread use of farm-based protective clothing and boots, would improve the situation.

Transfers of livestock and indirect contacts between farms are clearly scarcer than for pig and cattle production. Contacts with other forms of animal production are also rare. This reduces the possibility of diseases spreading between farms.

Sheep production is growing in Finland
”Sheep and goat production will continue to have a low potential for spreading diseases. However, Finland's favorable situation could deteriorate if the animal disease status in our neighboring regions changes, or animal imports markedly increase," Tapani Lyytikäinen, Senior Researcher points out.

Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira's Risk Assessment Research Unit has published a report describing sheep and goat production in Finland from an epidemiological perspective.

The report examines how easily animal diseases might spread to sheep and goat production and the possible role played by such production in the spread of diseases within stock farming in Finland.

Foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue disease are used in the report as putative examples of infections. Neither of these is present in Finland.

The information presented in the report is mainly based on the Sheep and Goat Register of 2009 and a survey of livestock producers carried out in 2011.

See the report Sheep and goat production in Finland from an epidemiological standpoint
Description in English.

Further information on the study:
Tapani Lyytikäinen, Senior Researcher, Head of Section, Risk Assessment Research Unit
tapani.lyytikainen at-merkki-kapea.gif : 0 kB, tel. +358 (0)400 614 380
Leena Sahlström, Senior Researcher, Risk Assessment Research Unit
leena.sahlstrom at-merkki-kapea.gif : 0 kB, tel. +358 (0)40 489 3375

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