Animal petting


Animal petting

Many domestic and farm animals can carry bacteria that are harmful to humans if ingested.

Bacteria such as E.coli O157 can be fatal to young children, the elderly and those whose immune systems may be compromised.

Contact with animals is no longer limited to visits to farms and zoos. Many businesses are aware of the attraction animals provide to visitors, especially children. Pubs, vineyards, agricultural shows and farmers markets often have animals the public can meet and pet. Farmers who diversify into camping and outdoor events may use fields that were previously grazed by animals.

In a controlled environment, with all the relevant precautions and facilities to minimise and control the spread of bacteria, animal viewing and petting can be a safe and enjoyable experience.

Risk assessment is the key to determining the control measures needed, namely:

  • Creating a layout and routes that identify areas the public should not have access to
  • Segregate and clearly identify animal contact areas and non-animal contact areas
  • Segregate and clearly identify eating and play areas
  • Provide adequate and suitable washing facilities in appropriate areas and positions
  • Provide up to date visitor information and signs
  • Ensure staff are properly trained and supervised
  • Manage livestock, including bedding, sick or stressed animals
  • Manage fields and areas that may be used for camping at a later date
  • Manage manure and run off, and compost heaps
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