Government plans new ‘Animal Ombudsman’ for Finland

The new post will be based in Senäjoki and deal more closely with the welfare of animals in food production rather than household pets.

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File picture of cows on arable farm land / Credit: iStock

The government is planning to re-introduce the post of ‘Animal Ombudsman’ as part of a wider effort to revitalise the Animal Welfare Act.

The position would be based in Seinäjoki alongside the Food Agency, with the expectation that there should be ongoing cooperation between the two offices.

Previously a dedicated animal protection officer worked under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry from 2013 until 2015 and looked at ways to improve animal welfare issues in general.

That post was cut due to lack of funds by the last government, despite the Greens and Left Alliance calling for the position to be retained. The Greens in particular raised the re-establishment of this ‘Animal Ombudsman’ job during the government negotiations.

In a planned reform of the Animal Welfare act, Juha Sipilä‘s (Centre) government wanted to transfer responsibility for animal welfare from municipalities and regional administration to new provinces.

A revised Animal Welfare law would likely put more emphasis on welfare of animals in the food chain, but wouldn’t address issues like animal welfare in connection with fur farming; while issues with domestic pets – for example registration for dogs and cats – could be tacked on to other pieces of legislation.

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