Environmental Policy and Ethos

Values and responsibility guide our work 

Here at Ruska-Laukka we strongly believe in the welfare and ethical treatment of animals as well as equality of human beings. Each day we work on the principle that we all enjoy ourselves and are part of Ronivaara family - our clients, animals and employees each have an equally important role. Our clientele consists of tourists and riding school students, and also of vulnerable people, whose participation is especially close to our heart.  

Respecting animals and ethical treatment 

Our belief is that by making sure our animals get the best possible care and are treated with respect and trust, they are able to give welfare for us humans too. For us each animal - a horse, a dog, a sheep or a chicken - is an individual, who has a name and a story. Because all of our employees work all year round, we are able to spend a lot of time with our animals and therefore know their individual behaviours and characteristics, which in turn leads to a safe working relationship with them. Each animal gets to behave in a manner specific to their species, has a clean and safe environment and receives a reasonable amount of work - which they mostly see as play- with scheduled breaks. When training our animals, we only use ethical methods based on the most recent research and continuously follow developments in this field. In Finland, animal welfare laws and regulations oversee the keeping animals. Our own standards are set significantly above the laws and regulations and we have been used as an example in many horse welfare projects and received good appraisal in audits.  

Safety 

In our daily operations we pay particular attention to hygiene, protection of all our health, and to the safety aspects of working with animals. All our employees have professional qualifications, which enables them to work safely with animals. We can provide protective equipment such as riding helmets and safety vests. We look after our clients by teaching them the correct use of equipment and guide them how to treat animals safely and ethically prior to any activities. Activities are in small groups, which allows individual and unrushed experiences. Number of employees is sufficient in relation to number of animals and visitors. It is very important to us that all our animals are trained in their tasks. We adhere to guidance and recommendations of the following organisations: Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes), Finnish Riders Union, Green Care of Finland, Social Pedagogical horse operations association, Dogs in education and rehabilitation work association, and HETI Horses in Education and Therapy International.     

Being part of community and social responsibility 

The foundation idea on our farm is to build up environment which invites you to take part in our activities and makes you to feel welcome.  It is important to us that each client is able to take part on their own terms, with different aids and support if required. Our stable and the grounds are accessible also with wheelchair and other accessive devices, for example we provide a client and horse friendly ramp to mount a horse. Sense of community can be noticed in our daily lives, we look after each other, keep the environment clean and safe, ensure a good team spirit and make everyone feel equal and treat each animal, colleague and client with respect.

We communicate honestly about our work and the princibles that are guiding our daily activities to clients, affiliates, authorities and workers. We answer honestly to the questions asked by our clients and are willing to share our knowledge about housing and keeping our animals.

Over the years we have had open days, events and programmes aimed at disadvantaged families, and other charitable events together with Kuusamo Town Council, local parish, the Lions and Rotary clubs and other local operators. We do this as part of our social responsibility and encourage others in our network to do the same. All our employees are local and work at our farm all year round. We collaborate with different local organisations with regards to our tourism side as well as our other operations and our aim is to source local materials and supplies. We actively develop our business by taking part in different activities and training.

We strongly believe that always when we are working with animals, the business development should be done carefully and with animal welfare first in mind, honoring the environment and the local way of living. We have a lot of variety in our activities and programs and thus are able to work all year round.

You can see locality in our services as we value Finnish original breeds; in our riding- and horse activities we use Finnhorses, and our sheep and chickens are original finnish breeds. We also want to keep different traditional tools and methods - as an example you can find a traditional blacksmith workbench with tools in our farm. 

The wellbeing of the environment enables our own wellbeing - ecological responsibility 

We pay particular attention in the preservation of the diversity of nature. On our farm we maintain field and forest pastures, a wetland, traditional biotype fields and a restored natural stream. The grazing horses and sheep help to sustain many traditional plants growing in the meadow. All our activities are executed by use of muscle power; either on horseback, sleigh or cart, pulled by dogs or on our own feet. No motorised vehicles are used on our guided tours. We encourage our clients and employees to use shared transport or car share where possible and we organise these ourselves. We try to recycle waste when possible and spur our employees on to do the same. Housing horses on the yard not only advances the health of horses but is also an ecologically sustainable solution. For example use of heating, lighting and quantity of dry bedding are significantly lower in comparison to stable housing. In all building and repair projects we favour recycled materials.    

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