Reindeer Herding Cooperatives

The reindeer husbandry act (848/1990) regulates reindeer herding and defines the areas where it can be practiced regardless of the land ownership. Reindeer husbandry area is divided into 54 different cooperatives. The state land situated to the northernmost areas forms an area specifically intended for reindeer herding. The land in this area may not be used in a manner that may significantly hinder reindeer herding. Changes in the ownership or leasing of land in this area may only be done on the condition that the landowner or lessee does not have a right to receive compensation for damage caused by reindeer.

Reindeer Herding Cooperatives in Finland

Reindeer herding cooperatives vary in the size of their total area and number of reindeer. Every cooperative is responsible of the reindeer herding in its area. Cooperative is a community formed by the reindeer herders. Every herder belongs to one cooperative. Reindeer can be owned by a person living in the EU region and in a municipality that a cooperative belongs all or partially.

Reindeer Husbandry Act regulates the operations and organisation of the cooperative. A cooperative is headed by a Chief of District chosen by a general meeting of the cooperative. In addition, the general meeting chooses a Vice-chief of District and a four-member board. The Chief of District chooses a Treasurer. All cooperatives are members of the Reindeer Herders’ Association by law. The cooperatives use their voting rights based on the number of reindeer in each cooperative, through the Chiefs of District in the Associations meetings.

Reindeer Husbandry Decree (883/1990) regulates more specifically the tasks of the Chief of District and cooperative.