Animal disease preparedness

Outbreaks of animal diseases that can be transmitted between animals or from animals to humans and that are common elsewhere in the world are very rare in Finland. However, these kinds of diseases can quickly infect or kill a large number of animals and culling a large number of animals may be the only way to control them. Animal diseases can also pose a risk to human health either directly or through food, and they have the potential to cause considerable suffering to animals. 

Outbreaks that lead to the loss of farm animals and animal feed and require cleaning and disinfection can be extremely costly. Diseases can also restrict the export of animal products, which can have a substantial impact on the national economy.  

Maintaining the good situation in Finland requires continuous work to prevent diseases. Examples of these measures include 

  • keeping the farming community informed of the latest risks,  
  • setting rules for the import of animals and animal-based products, 
  • restricting the sale and import of certain animals and animal-based products, 
  • regularly testing certain animals for contagious diseases, 
  • regulating the penning of certain animals that are kept outside, 
  • examining carcasses of certain animal species, and 
  • regular training and exercises to prepare for outbreaks. 

These and other measures are outlined in the Finnish Food Safety Authority’s national animal disease preparedness guidelines. 

Role of Regional State Administrative Agencies 

Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for 

  • keeping regional preparedness plans up to date, 
  • maintaining emergency stocks, 
  • educating local authority veterinary officers and emergency veterinary officers on animal diseases, 
  • ensuring that tests and inspections for certain animal diseases are carried out on time, and 
  • reporting on the measures taken to the Finnish Food Safety Authority. 

If there is an outbreak, we work together with local authority veterinary officers and the Finnish Food Safety Authority to contain the spread of the disease as prescribed by law. We coordinate local authority veterinary officers’ local work. 

Animal disease preparedness is just one aspect of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ preparedness duties.