Voluntary animal health control

Certain animal diseases are subject to statutory controls and regular testing in all establishments where animals are kept. There are also diseases that are not subject to statutory controls but that can be incorporated into a voluntary animal health control programme. Despite the voluntary nature of the programmes, joining them is often a prerequisite for selling livestock.

Voluntary animal health control covers the following diseases:

  • Maedi-visna virus in sheep
  • Caprine arthritis and encephalitis (CAE) in goats
  • Bovine tuberculosis in deer
  • Bacterial kidney disease (BKD) in salmonids

Advice and guidance

If you want to join a voluntary animal health control programme, you should first read the detailed, disease-specific requirements. You must satisfy the criteria and make a commitment to observing the programme. You also need to agree to controls and regular testing.

You must

  • have your animals regularly examined by a local authority veterinary officer,
  • take samples and test your animals for the disease in question,
  • send your samples to a laboratory for analysis,
  • keep records of the samples you have taken and sent off for analysis,
  • notify the authorities if your animals test positive for the disease,
  • agree to only source new animals or gametes and embryos from an establishment in at least the same health category as your own farm,
  • stay up to date with the marking of your animals,
  • keep records of animal health examinations and testing as well as the results of laboratory analyses,
  • have your records ready for auditing, and
  • keep your records for as long as you implement the control programme.

Fill in the notice form prepared by the Finnish Food Authority and send it to the registry of your nearest Regional State Administrative Agency. Links to disease-specific forms are available on the Finnish Food Authority’s website, and the contact information of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ registries is provided at the bottom of this page.

The competent Regional State Administrative Agency assigns your farm to a health category based on the description you provide in your application. There are three different health categories. Your category depends on how likely it is that the animal disease that the programme in question seeks to control does not occur on your farm. The categorisation takes into account previously suspected or confirmed animal diseases in animals kept on your farm and in animals that have come into contact with your animals, as well as the results of any testing commissioned by you. You can get upgraded to a higher health category as more time passes, provided that you continue to meet the requirements. Your category can only be upgraded if your animals remain free of diseases.

Your farm’s health category depends on the following factors:

  • the length of time that voluntary animal health control has been implemented on your farm
  • whether all veterinary health examinations and testing have been carried out on time and whether the results have been acceptable
  • whether your records are up to date
  • whether you have complied with the health categorisation rules when introducing new animals/gametes to your farm

If you satisfy all the requirements, you can ask the competent Regional State Administrative Agency to upgrade your health category. 

Regional State Administrative Agencies can withdraw your health categorisation if you have not complied with the requirements or if you notify the competent Regional State Administrative Agency that you intend to close your farm or stop participating in the health control programme.

Decisions and controls relating to health control programmes as well as laboratory analyses are subject to fees. Regional State Administrative Agencies are the competent authority for reviewing and deciding on applications to join a programme and to have a farm’s health category upgraded. An hourly fee of EUR 85 is charged for processing these applications. The minimum charge is for one hour.

Local authority veterinary officers charge EUR 150 for each annual health examination, including testing. EUR 50 is charged for a purely document-based audit in the case of, for example, fish farms that rely on natural ponds. If an audit takes longer than two hours (excluding travel time), an additional EUR 100 is added for each new hour after the initial two.

Laboratory analyses are charged according to the laboratory’s fees and charges.

Links to legal texts

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