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Responsible for the service Regional State Administrative Agency

Animal use for scientific or educational purposes: licences for operators and animal experiments

  • Permit or other obligation
  • Nationwide except the Åland Islands
  • Public service

Animal experiment licence = project authorisation

You need a project licence if the research or teaching causes the animals a level of pain equivalent to or higher than introduction of a needle. A permit is also needed for creating new genetically modified (GM) animals and the maintenance of the GM lines with welfare problems. You may apply a change for licence. The application is sent to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland. During processing, clarifications are often requested.

The application shall justify the necessity of the experiments and provide details of the procedures to be taken on the animals. The harm to animal welfare is described and human endpoints are defined.

The design and implementation of projects shall comply with the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement (3R principles):

  • the use of animals shall be replaced by other methods, if possible;
  • the number of animals used is reduced to as low as possible without compromising the objectives of the project, and
  • pain, suffering and distress caused to animals is minimised and animal’s wellbeing is enhanced.

The Board assesses the implementation and severity of the procedures and ensures the implementation of the 3R principles. Humane endpoints are defined = the point at which the animal is removed from the experiment if the amount of harm exceeds that allowed in the licence. The basis for granting the authorisation is the assessment of the expected benefits of the project in relation to the harm to animals. A non-technical summary of the project is published.

The Board may order a retrospective assessment of the project. This must always be done for projects with severe procedures. The Board may also order the evaluation for other reasons.

Operation licence

An operator (e.g. university or institute) must apply for a licence with an application explaining the activities to be started, facilities, installations, equipment and environmental conditions, animal species to be used, competences of personnel, persons in charge, designated veterinarian, organisation of veterinary care and members of animal welfare body. The facilities are inspected before the authorisation. The activities are monitored regularly by inspections. An existing licence can be supplemented or amended.

Do the following

Project licence:

apply for a project or project change licence using a form that you can request from ella(at) You may also ask instructions on completing the application. The application is made in Finnish or Swedish. Instructions are also available in English. Send the application in good time, 3-4 months before starting the experiments.

Operator licence:

apply for a licence with a informal application that explains the information below.

Send the application to

(1) name, address, domicile and business ID of the applicant;

(2) business name, if any, used in the activities;

(3) where and what kind of activity the applicant intends to carry out and when the activity is to start;

(4) name of the person responsible for the activities and a description of his/her qualifications as regards the requirements set for the activity;

(5) name(s) of the person responsible for the establishment and an explanation of their knowledge of their duties;

(6) description on the competencies of personnel who take procedures, design procedures and projects, care for and euthanize animals;

(7) name of the designated veterinarian or other qualified expert and an explanation of their competence;

(8) description on the organisation of the veterinary care of the establishment;

(9) description on the composition of the animal welfare body or other manner in which the operator fulfils the obligations imposed on the animal welfare body;

(10) information on the facilities, installations and equipment related to the activity and the layout of the applicant's establishments;

(11) animal species used in the activity and numbers of animals intended to be kept on the establishments at the same time by species;

(12) description on the environmental conditions of establishments used for the care and housing of animals by species; and

(13) if the applicant is a company, cooperative or other entity, or a foundation, a copy of the articles of association or rules and an extract from the register.

To whom and on what terms

Animal experiment licence = project authorisation

A prerequisite for a project designer's competence is a higher education degree and the completion of courses in laboratory animal science intended for the designer. If you have obtained a competence outside Finland, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland grants the qualification upon application.

Competence requirement for the person carrying out procedures includes the appropriate course and verified practical skills. Person in charge named by the operator checks the competence before working with animals.

Person responsible for implementing the project ensures that:

  • project is carried out under the requirements of the project licence and law;
  • remedial action is taken where necessary and recorded; and
  • medicines given to animals for research purposes are recorded in the records.

Operation licence

Operator must have the required number of competence personnel and designate:

a person responsible for the activities whose task is to ensure that:

  • the requirements for the activity are met;
  • any shortcomings in the activities that reduce animal welfare are remedied without delay;
  • projects are carried out under regulations and project licences;
  • staff working with animals have the necessary competencies;
  • the designated veterinarian, the persons responsible for the establishment and the animal welfare body have the opportunity to carry out their duties appropriately.

a person responsible for the establishment, who is responsible for ensuring that:

  • requirements laid down for animal care and use are complied with;
  • information on animals kept in the establishment is available to staff working with the animals; and
  • staff are adequately trained and competent.

a designated veterinarian for veterinary care and animal welfare advice

an animal welfare body tasked with:

  • staff advice on animal welfare issues;
  • development and review of animal welfare monitoring, reporting and follow-up;
  • follow the development and results of projects in terms of animal welfare; and
  • deciding on the rehoming or returning of an animal used or intended for the project to a suitable treatment system.

Operator has also several recording duties. The operator submits statistical data to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland for annual statistics and for 5-year reporting.

A fee is charged for the service.

Fees are based on Government Decree on Charges Payable for the Services of Regional State Administrative Agencies. The Decree applies in 2021.

Project authorisations:

short 650€

standard 1 080€

large 2700€

Changes for project licence: by the Board 325€, by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (urgent changes, short extensions, small increases in the number of animals involved) 110€

project designer’s competence 215€

Operator licence, based on working time, 80€/hour

Background information

Act on the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific or Educational Purposes (497/2013) Unofficial translation

Government Decree on the PrGovernment Decree on the Protection of Animals Used for Scientific or Educational Purposes (564/2013)

Basic information

The service is provided byRegional State Administrative Agency
Responsible for the serviceRegional State Administrative Agency
Area Whole Finland (except Åland)
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish, English
Text edited by: Regional State Administrative Agency
Updated: 4/5/2021