Animal services include consumer services, in which animals play an important part in providing the service. In animal services, the animals can be viewed, touched, or cared for, or people can move actively with animals. The risks caused by the animal services to the customers, service participants or outsiders are considered from the point of view of the Consumer Safety Act; these risks are often due to a failure to take animal behaviour sufficiently well into account in planning the service.
The animal service provider, such as a zoo or a company offering dog sled or reindeer safaris, is responsible for the safety of the service.
A safety document must be drawn up on animal services, unless the risk caused by the service to customers or outsiders is only minor. Such services include, for example, dog sled or reindeer safaris, petting farms, zoos, riding services and harness racing events. Animals are also used in many services with low risk, such as agility or similar hobbies with dogs, but it is not necessary to draw up a safety document for low-risk animal services.
Animal-assisted services related to demanding medical rehabilitation, such as riding therapy, are included in the social and health care services monitored by Valvira. Issues related to safety or the welfare of animals are not within the scope of the Consumer Safety Act; instead, they are regulated in more detail in the Animal Welfare Act.
Animal services are often a part of programme services that involve customer participation or are a part of a public event. The general safety requirements on all service providers are described elsewhere.