Transmissible animal diseases
Legislation on transmissible animal diseases is set out in Regulation (EU) 2016/429 of the European Parliament and of the Council on transmissible animal diseases and amending and repealing certain acts in the area of animal health (´Animal Health Law´), in the Animal Diseases Act (Eläintautilaki, 76/2021) and in Regulations, Decrees and Decisions based on the above mentioned acts.
There is also legislation on transmissible animal diseases in Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, in Regulation (EC) No 2160/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the control of salmonella and other specified food-borne zoonotic agents, and in Directive 2003/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, amending Council Decision 90/424/EEC and repealing Council Directive 92/117/EEC.
Legislation on the control of animal health in non-commercial movements of pet animals can be found in Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the non-commercial movement of pet animals and repealing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003.
Competent authorities in Finland
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the highest authority steering the implementation of the Animal Diseases Act and the provisions issued under it as well as the EU legislation on animal diseases. The Finnish Food Authority Ruokavirasto plans, steers, develops and controls the combating of animal diseases at the national level. The Finnish Food Authority is also responsible for maintaining animal disease preparedness and for animal disease diagnostics and research. The Regional State Administrative Agencies plan, steer, control and implement the combating of animal diseases and maintain animal disease preparedness in their respective areas of operation. In their operating areas, municipal veterinary officers are the competent authorities responsible for certain tasks laid down in the Animal Diseases Act. These duties are determined in more detail in the Act.
For more information, please visit the website of the Finnish Food Authority Ruokavirasto.
Listed and emerging animal diseases, other animal diseases to be combated, animal diseases to be controlled and other animal diseases to be reported
For the purposes of the Animal Health Law and the Animal Diseases Act a disease means the occurrence of infections and infestations in animals, with or without clinical or pathological manifestations, caused by one or more disease agents.
Rules on listed diseases, listed species and the categorization of listed diseases into categories A-E are set out in the Animal Health Law and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1882 on the application of certain disease prevention and control rules to categories of listed diseases and establishing a list of species and groups of species posing a considerable risk for the spread of those listed diseases.
There are also rules on emerging diseases in the Animal Health Law. An emerging disease is a disease that has the potential to meet the criteria for listing diseases and results from the evolution or change of an existing disease agent, is a known disease spreading to a new geographic area, species or population, is diagnosed for the first time in the European Union, or is caused by an unrecognized or previously unrecognized disease agent.
There are rules on other diseases to be combated and diseases to be controlled in the Animal Diseases Act. Other diseases to be combated and diseases to be controlled may be listed diseases which are only categorized in category D or E, or they may not be listed diseases. There are also rules on other diseases to be reported in the Animal Diseases Act. Other diseases to be combated, diseases to be controlled and other diseases to be reported are listed in a Ministerial Decree (maa- ja metsätalousministeriön asetus muista torjuttavista, valvottavista ja muista ilmoitettavista eläintaudeista, eläintautien ilmoittamisesta sekä mikrobikantojen toimittamisesta 325/2021)
If an operator or a pet keeper suspects or detects a listed or an emerging disease in an animal, or an other disease to be combated or a disease to be controlled, he or she must notify the municipal veterinary officer or the regional state administrative agency of the matter. Any natural or legal person taking part in examining, caring for, handling, transporting, euthanizing, slaughtering, hunting, catching or observing the animal has the same duty to notify the authorities of the disease. Where there are abnormal mortalities or other signs of serious disease or significant decreased production rates with an undetermined cause, or the disease agent has been isolated from a sample taken from the immediate environment of the animal, a suspicion of disease must be notified. The notification must be made immediately, where it concerns a category A disease or the signs indicate the presence of such a disease. The notification must be made as soon as practicable, where it concerns another listed disease, an other disease to be combated or a disease to be controlled, or the signs indicate the presence of such a disease.
If an operator or a pet keeper suspects a disease in category A-C in an animal, or an emerging disease or an other disease to be combated or a disease to be controlled, he or she must attempt to keep the animal separate from the from the other animals in the establishment or the household and refrain from moving animals, products, goods and substances potentially spreading the disease, until the competent authority has decided on further measures.