Thousands of animal welfare inspections based on suspected cases of abuse


<p>In 2013, animal welfare authorities performed nearly five thousand inspections of premises based on suspicions about the treatment of production animals and pets. The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira reports that more premises passed the inspection than before. However, deficiencies were recorded on at almost two thousand places incpected.</p>

Suspected violations of animal welfare regulations by animal owners led to 4,900 inspections Of all inspections of the care and living conditions of production animals and pets, 40 % led to action by the authorities, such as prohibitions and orders issued to the owner, or immediate action. This number represents no change on previous years.

“Regulations and other measures are aimed at ensuring that the living conditions, care and handling of animals meet the minimum requirements laid down in legislation. Some four hundred cases, or 8% of inspections, involved serious neglect requiring immediate action,” says Senior Inspector Terhi Jääskeläinen of Evira.

Prohibitions or orders issued to one in four pet owners

More inspections were made of premises in which pets are being held than of production animal sites.  As in previous years, the inspection targets mainly housed dogs, cats, rabbits and various rodents. Prohibitions and orders were issued to 26 % of inspected targets, a number slightly smaller than on previous occasions. Immediate action was taken at 11 % of the locations, a number similar to the year 2012.

Neglections on almost one in two production animal farms

Most of the production animal sites inspected kept cattle, horses or sheep. Prohibitions or orders were issued to 42 % of the inspected farms, slightly fewer than in previous years. As in 2012, immediate action was taken on 4 % of the inspected farms.

“Immediate action can mean providing the animals with feed and water. Sometimes  the  animals need to be put down” says Terhi Jääskeläinen.

Additional resources enhance monitoring

Animal welfare inspections triggered by suspicions of abuse are an important part of animal welfare control. The number of such inspections has risen in recent years. Municipalities have hired official veterinarians who focus on control. In turn, this has improved municipalities' capacity to perform inspections.

Before the new Act on Veterinary Service entered into force in late 2009, enabling municipalities to hire official veterinarians to conduct animal welfare control, around 2,500 animal welfare inspections a year were performed in response to suspicions of abuse. In addition to animal welfare and other municipal veterinarians, provincial veterinary officers perform high numbers of inspections, particularly in difficult cases.

Further information:
Senior Inspector Terhi Jääskeläinen, tel. +358 (0)50 594 6489
Head of Section Taina Mikkonen, tel. +358 (0)40 830 8404

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