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Responsible for the service Regional State Administrative Agency

Permit for keeping a zoo, animal exhibition or circus

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

A permit must be obtained from the Regional State Administrative Agency for keeping a zoo, a permanent or travelling animal exhibition or a circus.

Animals may be displayed in a zoo, a permanent or travelling animal exhibition or a circus only with the authorisation of the Regional State Administrative Agency. The permit is applied for with a free-form application submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency.

A zoo means a permanent establishment where a selection of animals consisting primarily of wildlife species is exhibited to the public. A permanent animal exhibition means a permanent establishment displaying to the pubic a selection of animals consisting solely or primarily of other than wildlife species, or where the number of exhibited wild animals or animal species is small.

Do the following

If you are planning to display animals in a zoo, a permanent or travelling animal exhibition or a circus, follow these instructions:

  • Find out what requirements are set for the keeping of different animal species in animal welfare regulations. If necessary, contact your municipal veterinarian.
  • Prepare a free-form permit application well in advance before the intended commencement of the operation. The application shall indicate the following:

1. the species and numbers of the animals concerned

2. an account of the animal premises

3. an account of how the care of animals is to be arranged

4. for circuses, a description of the numbers to which the animals will participate and an account of what kinds of tricks the animals will perform in the show

5. for zoos, the activity related to the protection of wild fauna and preservation of biological diversity in which the establishment will take part.

  • Submit the permit application to the registry of the Regional State Administrative Agency in whose area the activity is practiced. In the case of a travelling animal exhibition, submit the application to the Regional State Administrative Agency in whose area the place of residence of the owner of the exhibition is located.
  • The permit for keeping a foreign circus or similar performance or a travelling animal show shall be applied for from the Regional State Administrative Agency in whose territory the circus, similar performance or travelling animal exhibition enters the country. The above-mentioned permit issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency must be presented in connection with the veterinary border control when entering the country.
  • Keep up-to-date records on the animals that are used in the activities.
  • Be prepared to have your activities inspected before the permit is granted.
  • Be prepared to have your activities inspected regularly.

To whom and on what terms

All zoos, permanent and travelling animal exhibitions and circuses must comply with the Animal Welfare Act and all regulations issued under it. In addition, the regulation on zoos and permanent animal exhibitions provides detailed requirements for the size of enclosures and cages, stimuli provided for the animals, and the care, treatment and handling of the animals.

In circuses and similar performances where skills taught to the animals are displayed, it is prohibited to keep: monkeys, predators, wild ruminants, ungulates, marsupials, pinnipeds, elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, birds of prey and crocodiles. However, the use of dogs and domestic cats, sea lions, ponies, domesticated horses and donkeys is allowed in circuses.

Furthermore, an up-to-date list must be kept of the used species and animals.

The zoo must make its own contribution to the protection of wild fauna and preservation of

biological diversity. For this purpose, the zoo must provide information to the public on the species displayed and their natural living conditions. In addition, the zoo must participate in:

  • research promoting the protection of animals
  • education relating to skills in protecting animal species
  • exchange of information relating to the protection of species
  • where appropriate, raising animal species in captivity, replanting of populations or restoration of species to the nature.

A fee is charged for the service.

Fees are determined by the Government Decree on the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ Fees in 2019 and 2020.


Deadline

Apply for the permit well before initiating the activity.

Processing time

1 - 6 months, depending on the scope of the activities.

Period of validity

The permit may be granted for an indefinite or fixed term. Conditions necessary in terms of animal protection may be attached to the permit. The permit may be revoked if the conditions of the permit are not complied with.

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
Text edited by: Regional State Administrative Agency
Updated: 9/19/2019