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Study: High threshold for reporting animal abuse

University of Eastern Finland researcher Tarja Koskela studied pet and livestock mistreatment in Finland and found that few cases were taken seriously by the authorities. In one case, a veterinarian made 14 separate inspections to a abusive location before calling the police.

Koiraa tutkitaan eläinlääkärissä.
Image: Yle

Government officials like the police don't seem to take animal abuse cases seriously enough, reveals a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

In her PhD dissertation, researcher Tarja Koskela found that officials failed to protect animals, and in some cases police didn't regard themselves as responsible for animal protection.

Koskela says she found veterinarians would make animal abuse inspections to production facilities and homes with pets over and over again despite unchanging conditions. Her data shows a case where officials made 14 inspections before calling the police.

The current animal protection law obligates vets and animal protection officials to report any abuse to the police immediately.

Koskela said her research found that animal abuse cases are not generally seen as serious, as they only result in fines.

For her dissertation, she compiled a 15-step list of optimal animal protection.

A new animal protection law is in the works at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Koskela suggests the new law could enforce harsher punishments for indifferent officials and ban passiveness in the face of animal cruelty.

This she says, could have a major impact on animal protection in the future.

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