Ethical Instructions for SEY Animal Welfare Counsellors

Ethical instructions for SEY animal welfare counsellors have been accepted by SEY Board. 28th November 2015.

SEY animal welfare counsellors have participated Finnish animal welfare supervision since 1902. Counselling is a central way to intervene in prevailing problems in animal welfare, and in preventative work the role of SEY animal welfare counsellors is especially crucial.

SEY animal welfare counsellors are volunteering citizens, trained in animal welfare issues, and they work under SEY around Finland. SEY animal welfare counsellors advise people via phone or e-mail, and most of them also make visits according to animal mistreatment reports. When visiting, SEY animal welfare counsellors cannot give orders, but only guidance about how animals should be treated and kept. Usually problems get solved by advising and in co-operation with the animal owner. In severe cases, animal welfare authorities take control. According to the Animal Welfare Act, animal welfare supervision is executed by municipal veterinarians, control veterinarians, county veterinarians, health inspectors, and the police.

SEY aims to actively co-operate with all animal welfare authorities and to help and support them in animal welfare work. In many areas this has already actualised, and the SEY animal welfare counsellor collaborates tightly with the authorities.

Animal welfare counsellors also carry out precautionary animal welfare work by talking about animal welfare in schools, day care centres, other learning institutions, public events and media.

SEY animal welfare counsellors do not get paid for their work, but SEY pays them mileages for the animal welfare counselling visits. Counsellors can also order overalls and other equipment and material for their work from the SEY office. SEY also offers the counsellors regular, free updating training.

All SEY welfare counsellors are provided with both accident and liability insurances by SEY.

SEY animal welfare counsellors follow SEY’s values in their work: respect for animals, expertise and cooperativeness, as well as SEY’s policies, directives and ethical instructions. SEY counsellors’ work is also regulated by the Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Decree. SEY animal welfare counsellors always follow the valid Animal Welfare Act, Animal Welfare Decree, and recommendations of the authorities.


1. SEY animal welfare counsellors respect all species and each individual animal. SEY counsellors are aware of the intrinsic value of every animal, irrespective of their usefulness for people. SEY counsellors do their best to help each individual animal in danger, and promote the well-being, good treatment, and respect for all animals.

2. SEY animal welfare counsellors treat their own animals in an exemplary way.

3. SEY animal welfare counsellors have the proper know-how about animals’ needs and the requirements for their well-being. SEY counsellors are also familiar with the animal-related legislation and recommendations given by the authorities. SEY counsellors inform the animal welfare authorities immediately on suspected violations of animal welfare legislation.

4. SEY animal welfare counsellors value their work and understand the responsibility of their position. SEY counsellors adhere to professional confidentiality and secrecy regarding given information. SEY counsellors do not, without a judicial process, reveal the identity of a person who has made an animal mistreatment report, and neither do the counsellors reveal any given information without a judicial process or a request from the authorities.

5. SEY animal welfare counsellors respect the human dignity, home range, reputation, and privacy of every person they meet when working. SEY counsellors do not judge, accuse, or criticise, but aim to use their knowledge and skills to improve animal well-being and advance the respect for animals.

6. SEY animal welfare counsellors react to the counselling requests and animal mistreatment reports in a professional way, thoroughly and without delay. When SEY counsellors cannot handle a counselling request or an animal mistreatment report, they make certain that it gets forwarded.

7. SEY animal welfare counsellors’ work is always transparent, and the counsellors visit private properties only with the client’s permission. SEY counsellors are never permitted to take an animal into custody without a written permission from the owner of the animal, or an order from a present authority.

8. SEY animal welfare counsellors commit to maintaining and increasing their knowledge and skills. SEY counsellors know the limits of their knowledge and skills and never compromise the well-being of animals or people due to ignorance. SEY counsellors know where to find reliable and up-to-date information, and they are able to advise people in need.

9. SEY animal welfare counsellors aspire to create and sustain functional and appropriate relationships with collaboration partners and networks.

10. SEY animal welfare counsellors use appropriate overalls and equipment. SEY counsellors know how to tackle animal disease epidemics and how to protect themselves from contagious animal diseases.

11. SEY counsellors understand that they are a part and a representative of a larger entirety. With their behaviour and action, the SEY counsellors advance the respect and confidence towards SEY’s animal welfare work and the whole field of animal welfare.

12. SEY animal welfare counsellors take care of their own well-being at work and support other counsellors. SEY counsellors understand that everyone is responsible for the team spirit and a good atmosphere at work.

13. SEY animal welfare counsellors aim to participate in SEY’s annual further counsellor training. SEY counsellors know that, in order to be able to work as counsellors, they are obligated to participate in the further training at least once in every three years.

14. SEY animal welfare counsellors return annual statistics of their work every year by the set time limit.

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