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Reindeer Husbandry in Finland
Borders and Rights
Reindeer Areas and Management
Number of Reindeer
Economic Issues
Challenges to Reindeer Husbandry
Traditional Knowledge
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In Finland, reindeer husbandry at the individual level in terms of taxation is not treated as a for-profit-business. Instead the reindeer herding district serves as a joint company for the reindeer owners. The district reports all incomes and costs within the district. This is unlike Sweden and Norway, where individual reindeer owners in terms of taxation are seen as for-profit-businesses and for herders in those countries the most commonly filled tax form is that of a private company (enskild firma or enkeltmannsforetak).

The vast majority of reindeer owners in Finland practise reindeer husbandry as a supplement to agriculture and forestry. With regard to ethnic groups in Finland, reindeer herding is from the economic point of view the most important for Sámi people.

The annual total revenue from reindeer husbandry in Finland is estimated to be 60 million Euro. The main product is meat. In 1999-2000, 93 000 reindeer were slaughtered, producing 2.1 million kilos of meat. An individual reindeer owner usually sells live reindeers to a slaughtering house. The owner must pay for the slaughtering and for the waste produced by the slaughtering process. In addition to meat production, reindeer are also an extremely valuable resource for both summer and winter tourism, as they are one of the main attractions for foreign tourists.

Numbers from 1994-2000 show that 60-80 % of reindeer husbandries income is from meat and about 10 % from compensation and 10 % from aid. Only a small part comes from investments and other incomes. Numbers from the same years show that about 40 % of the costs are related to herding activities, about 20 % of costs to cross country traffic and the rest to damages caused by reindeer, administrative costs, office supplies and equipment and other utilities.

(Sustainable Reindeer Husbandry – Arctic Council 2000-2002, J-L. Jernsletten, K. Klokov)

State economic support for Reindeer husbandry

State economic support to reindeer husbandry consists foremost of support to reindeer owners for live reindeer. If a reindeer owner should be able to apply for support for his or hers live reindeer, she or he must have at least 80 reindeer and 500 reindeers at a maximum in the Sámi reindeer herding district and 300 at most in other districts.

Finnish reindeer herding Sámi have requested that the support system should be more flexible than it is today, so that the support system would better fit reindeer husbandry and promote a more sustainable economic balance. On the whole, Sámi have requested that support should be based more on the number of live reindeer in bad years and that it should depend on prices of reindeer for slaughtering in good years. The proposed system would also guarantee a certain salary every year regardless of grazing conditions etc. The support system is primarliy adapted to foremost supports to agriculture.

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