The treatment of production animals contravened animal welfare regulations in 2013 a little more often than previously. Breaches were found on broiler, fur production animal and cattle farms more often than on other production farms. Nevertheless, urgent interventions were only necessary on one cattle farm.
In 2013, a systematic animal welfare inspection was carried out on a total of 545 production animal farms. Breaches were found on almost one-third of the farms, which is a little more than in 2012. Many of the breaches were similar to those in previous years. However, there were clear differences in the inspection results between animal species.
Differences in contraventions between animal species
Almost half of the 132 broiler farms inspected were found to contravene the regulations. Of the 244 cattle farms inspected, breaches were found on 27 per cent, that is a little more than in 2012. On one cattle farm, urgent measures were implemented to secure the animals’ welfare.
Practices contravening animal welfare regulations were found on one-fifth of the inspected pig farms, which is fewer than in 2012. No breaches whatsoever were again found on the inspected duck and goose farms.
On sheep farms, too, breaches continued to fall to 17 per cent. The majority of the contraventions were on two sheep farms. Of the nine goat farms inspected, one was found to have failings. In addition, three egg-producing farms out of the twenty inspected were found to have contravened the legislation.
With fur-production animals, the number of breaches found fell clearly from 2012, but remained relatively high at 33 per cent. However, only 24 fur-producing farms were inspected, which is fewer than in previous years.
Monitoring systematically improved
The European Union obliges member states to inspect a representative number of production animal farms annually. Systematic sampling-based animal welfare inspections on farms were begun in Finland in 1998. They address compliance with the entire national animal welfare legislation.
In Finland, about a quarter of the farms for monitoring are selected for inspection by random sampling, and the rest are selected on the basis of risk and with certain weightings defined for each animal species. The risk-based approach to monitoring has been systematically developed during recent years.