Petting Zoos

Your petting zoo or farm is designed to provide children and students with education and fun. However, animals can carry diseases that can make humans ill, and proper precautions must be taken to ensure that the health and safety of all visitors are protected, especially children.

Fraser Health recommends the following tips for operating your petting zoo or farm:

Handwashing

  • Staff/Volunteers must encourage all visitors to wash their hands after handling the animals and before consuming food or drinks.
  • There should be a minimum of one handwashing station with hot/warm water, liquid soap and paper towels immediately adjacent to the animal petting area. Washrooms in nearby stores or restaurants are NOT sufficient. The use of antiseptic hand wipes or gels is NOT a replacement for providing hand wash sinks.
  • Automatic taps are recommended. Hand soap and paper towels should be in dispensers.
  • Temporary hand wash stations should be installed when permanent facilities are not immediately available.
  • The exit to the animal area should be controlled and monitored to ensure children pass by and use the handwashing facilities.
  • Handwashing facilities must be accessible by all visitors, i.e. at the right heights for both children and adults or with raised standing areas provided for children (check to ensure setup does not a present tripping or falling hazard).

Operation

  • The public should not be permitted access to any animal enclosure except under the direct supervision of trained personnel. These enclosures should be kept locked outside of regular business hours.
  • Ensure that any manure is quickly and thoroughly cleaned up, and appropriately discarded. Straw and sawdust bedding should be replaced at least daily.
  • Staff/Volunteers must report all animal bites or scratches, or other injuries resulting from animal contact to Health Protection Services with the Fraser Health Authority.
  • Unpasteurized milk, dairy products or juices are NOT to be offered to any visitors.

Animals

  • Potentially dangerous animals should not be included in a petting zoo. Reptiles and amphibians are not recommended.
  • All animals must be in good health, and any animals with diarrhea must be excluded from display immediately.
  • All animals must have up-to-date vaccinations for diseases applicable to the region. Vaccination records must be readily available when requested by the Fraser Health Authority.
  • All animals must have a friendly disposition, and must be comfortable with extensive petting or handling.

Signage

Ensure signs are erected at the entrance of the petting zoo or farm, which should include the following messages:

Wash hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly:

  • after touching the animals;
  • anytime your hands get visibly soiled or dirty;
  • before having any food or drinks;
  • parents/adults should supervise the children’s handwashing;
  • avoid touching your face and mouth before washing your hands;
  • NO food or drink is to be brought into the animal contact area.

Additional resources for operators

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