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Treatment on animals

Every sick or injured animal has to get the necessary treatment. The prerequisite for fulfilment of this condition is from one side that a veterinarian is called in time by the keeper of the animal and from the other side the qualifications and knowledge of the veterinarian to provide veterinary service of high quality. While treating animals he has to be protected from avoidable suffering and possible infections. The veterinarian is required to follow the good veterinary practice, ensure sterility and use anaesthesia, if necessary, to protect the animal from avoidable suffering.

A veterinarian performs surgeries and other veterinary procedures, incl. tattooing and microchiping dogs and cats. A person who has appropriate training and holds a certificate proving adequate theoretical and practical training may also perform brief procedures and those that cause little pain.

Theoretical training should provide necessary knowledge about the anatomy, physiology, surgery, and characteristic behavioural habits of the animal and about animal protection requirements. In addition to theoretical knowledge, practical training should provide skills to perform simple veterinary procedures. Practical skills may be trained under the supervision of a veterinarian only.

Permitted veterinary procedures

Permitted veterinary procedures of animals are:
1) Castration;
2) Sterilization;
3) Dehorning;
4) Paring of hooves;
5) Tattooing and microchiping;
6) Surgery of hound dogs;
7) Clipping the teeth of piglets; clipping the tusks of boars;
8) Cutting the tails of piglets;
9) Placing nose rings to bulls and ringing the snout of boars that are kept in outdoor pen;
10) Clipping the beaks of chicks
The purpose of dehorning is to avoid injuries that animals may cause to each other. Dehorning should be performed before the calf is 2 months old; the best is the moment when the first horn hump can be noticed. Dehorning with a thermocauter combined with local anaesthesia should be preferred and the procedure has to be performed by a trained person. Dehorning with chemicals is not recommendable.

Dehorning of adult bovines should not be a routine; this should be used only in exceptional cases to ensure the welfare of the other animals.
Clipping the  teeth of piglets, the tusks of boars and cutting tails is permitted only for the benefit of health and welfare of other pigs, in case they have injuries on their ears, tails or dugs. For example, tail biting among piglets is caused first of all by stress due to bad feeding and keeping conditions. Solving this problem should start from improving animal welfare.
In order to avoid pecking each other’s feathers and cannibalism, a respectively trained person may clip the beaks of chicks younger than 10 days. Again attention should be paid to feeding and keeping conditions because the noted behavioural problem is much more rare among birds who are kept in good conditions.
In case of castration and sterilization of animals the necessity of the procedure should be considered and a method should be found that is most suitable for the noted animal species. Use of rubber rings in castration procedure is prohibited as it causes lengthy and continuing pain to the animal.

Prohibited veterinary procedures

urgeries and veterinary procedures carried out on the purpose of changing the appearance of the animal, not for treatment is prohibited.
Here the cutting of ears and tails of dogs and cats is being considered, the procedure that was completely legal concerning some animal breeds only some years ago.
Since the 1st of January 2001 cutting the ears and tails of dogs and cats is prohibited in Estonia. The person performing these procedures will be fined.
Ears or tails of dogs and cats may be cut only in case of medicinal indication.
Tails may be cut on piglets only in case any cannibalism is noticed in the herd. This procedure is not permitted to be performed on the other animals.

Slaughtering, emergency slaughtering and execution of animals
Slaughtering of animals has been a very contradictory question from the ethical and moral point of consideration throughout the history. The common rule is that the way of execution chosen should cause as little physical and mental suffering for the animal as possible.  Execution of an animal is considered exceptional in the situation where it might attack people and endanger human life or health and when the attack cannot be avoided or repelled in any other way. Nature Protection Act regulates execution of a protected animal.

An animal in helpless situation due to an accident or an emergency may also be executed, in case leaving him alive should cause him continuous suffering or his specific living style or returning to the nature in the future would be impossible.
Emergency slaughter is killing a farm animal due to mercy or with a purpose to avoid economical loss, in case his treatment or surviving should cause him continuous suffering.
According to Animal Protection Act the permitted execution of an animal is:
1)  Slaughtering of a farm animal;
2)  Killing one day old biddies and embryos in hatching waste;
3)  Emergency slaughtering of a farm animal;
4)  Execution of the animal in helpless situation;
5)  Slaughtering of the animal on religious purpose;
6)  Euthanasia of the animal;
7)  Killing the caught fish;
8)  Hunting of game;
9)  Killing of noxious insects and rodents;
10) Diagnostic slaughter of animals noted in Infectious Animal Disease Control Act and slaughtering in order to avoid the spread of infectious animal disease;
11) Execution of the animal for self-defence.

Killing of one-day-old  chicks and embryos in hatching wastes has to comply with the requirements in the Regulation of the Ministry of Agriculture No 31 from the 2nd of May 2001 „The procedure of killing one day old chicks and embryos in hatching wastes“.

According to the Regulation of Government No 266 from the 31st of July 2001e slaughtering of the animal on religious purpose is permitted. Veterinary and Food Board has to be informed in written about the intention to perform the procedure 10 days before and the slaughtering should be supervised by an official supervisor monitoring if the animal protection requirements are met on the spot.

Slaughtering of animals in the presence of under-aged is prohibited, except:
1) Destroying of noxious insects and rodents;
2) Fishing;
3) Execution of the animal in helpless situation;
4) Killing related to a study assignment in vocational education, in the presence and at the liability of an instructor.

Last updated: 24 September 2019