Animal identification

The legal obligation to register the establishment where animals are kept applies to the following animals:

  • bovine animals
  • porcine animals
  • ovine animals
  • caprine animals
  • poultry
  • equine animals
  • camel and deer (reindeer with certain exceptions)
  • fur animals
  • fish, crustaceans and molluscs (excl. ornamental animals in a tank)
  • bees and bumble bees
  • production rabbits
  • other terrestrial animals, excluding households keeping pets and veterinary practices and clinics

In addition, establishments where germinal products and embryos are kept must also be registered. For more details on requirements concerning groups of animals, see the links on the left side of the page . The obligation to register a place (establishment) where animals are kept arises even if there is only one animal or its intended use is non-commercial, for example in the form of a hobby. Certain species of animal must also be identified and marked either by a unique identifier or as group animals.

Legislation on the identification and registration of animals has changed since 21 April 2021, when Regulation (EU) 2016/429 (Animal Health Law) and the acts adopted pursuant to it became applicable. The new Act on the Identification and Registration of Animals (1069/2021) entered into force on 1 January 2022. The Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on the Identification and Registration of Animals (67/2022), issued pursuant to the Act, entered into force on 24 January 2022.

If any changes are made to the information of the establishment where the animal is kept (operator's data, information of establishment or on the keeping of animals) or cessation of activity by the operator or establishment concerned, the Eläintenpitäjä- ja pitopaikkarekisteri (Register of animal keepers and establishments) must be notified of this by no later than 30 days of the event.

Obligation to keep records

An establishment operator has an obligation to record and maintain information. For each registered establishment where animals are kept, records shall be kept of the species of animals, the categories of animals, the number of animals and, where appropriate, the identification data (identification code). In addition, records shall be kept of the animals entering and leaving the establishment where the animals are kept. The movement data shall show the unique registration number (ID of the establishment where the animal is kept) of the place of departure and destination and the date of the movement. Records shall also be kept of deaths and in the case of certain animal species, of births of animals at the establishment. The information shall be recorded and maintained on paper or in electronic form. The information must be recorded in the records at the establishment by no later than on the third day after the event. These records shall be retained for at least three years. Some animal species are subject to more detailed record keeping obligations and you can check these on the animal species-specific website.

Why is this being done?

The aim of animal identification and registration is to monitor the passage of food derived from animals from the beginning to the end of the production chain. In order for the consumer to be convinced of the safety of a product, food production must be transparent and the product must be traceable to its point of origin. Also in the event of an outbreak of an animal disease, it is important to know where each animal has been, so that animals that are likely to be infected can be traced and separated from other animals.

In order to ensure the traceability and food safety of animals, production animals must be reliably and comprehensively identified the establishment must keep an up-to-date register of the movements of animals between establishments and record their births and deaths in accordance with species-specific requirements.

The second purpose relates to ensuring animal welfare. When the authorities are clear who produces and sells animals, it is also possible to monitor this activity.

The third and possibly the most important purpose, is related to animal diseases. Animals have their own diseases, some of which can be very serious, even if they do not infect humans at all. Such diseases can threaten the very existence of the entire animal production. When an epidemic is detected, the best chance of thwarting it is when it is known where the susceptible animals are and how the animals have moved out of the affected area.

Compliance with the requirements is supervised by ELY Centre inspectors, inspection veterinarians, control veterinarians and municipal veterinarians.

What should I do?

Registration as a keeper of aquatic animals is made in the aquaculture register.

Registration of establishments where terrestrial animals are kept includes the following three mandatory steps:

  1. Notification of the keeping of animals begins with the notification of where they are kept (establishment).
  2. Once the establishment where the animals are kept has been registered, the species of kept animals must be reported.
  3. If cattle, pigs, goats or sheep are kept, more detailed event reports must then also be made in the own cattle, pig, sheep and goat registers.

Steps 1 and 2 of the above are recorded in the Eläintenpitäjä- ja pitopaikkarekisteri (Register of animal keepers and establishments). Notifications can be submitted to the rural business authority in the operator's municipality of residence or through the e-service.

The third-stage registers are separate animal registers and information on their use is available by species-specific website (cattle, pig, sheep and goat).

Page last updated 11/4/2022