A. Animals in public settings. Measures to prevent human disease. The purpose of this statute is to protect the public from diseases transmitted to humans from animals in public settings. “Animal” means only those animals that may transmit infectious diseases. “Animal contact exhibit” means any sanctioned agricultural fair where animals are displayed on the exhibition grounds for physical contact with humans.
B. Permit Required. For the protection of the public health and safety, the general public may operate no animal exhibition venue for use unless the owner or operator has first obtained an operation permit issued by the State Board of Agriculture. The State Board of Agriculture may issue an operation permit only after physical inspection of the animal exhibition and a determination that the animal exhibition meets the requirements of this section and rules adopted pursuant to this section.
C. Educational Outreach. The State Board of Agriculture shall make consultative and educational efforts to inform agricultural fair operators, exhibitors, agritourism business operators, and the general public about the health risks associated with diseases transmitted by physical contact with animals.
D. Venue Operator Requirements.
1. Signage. An animal contact exhibit shall provide visible signage at the entrance and exit of the exhibit to educate the public regarding: the fact that animal contact may pose a health risk; items that are prohibited in animal areas; the identity of high risk populations, including the elderly, children under the age of six, women who are pregnant, and people with an existing health condition; and the location of hand-washing stations. Signage shall be provided to direct patrons to hand-washing stations.
2. Prohibited Items. In order to minimize hand to mouth contact, no pacifiers, baby bottles, drink cups, food, drink or smoking shall be allowed in animal contact exhibits. Only food provided by the animal contact exhibit may be fed to the animals. Animal food shall not be provided in containers that are human food items, such as ice cream cones.
3. Hand-washing Stations. Hand-washing stations with soap, hot running water, paper towels and disposal containers shall be located within 10 feet of the exit of an animal contact exhibit. Hand-washing stations suitable for small children shall be available. Hand washing facilities should be accessible, sufficient for the maximum anticipated attendance, and configured for use by children and adults. Children aged <5 years should wash their hands with adult supervision. Staff training and posted signs should emphasize the need to wash hands after touching animals or their environment, before eating, and on leaving the interaction area. Communal basins do not constitute adequate hand washing facilities.
4. Surfaces, Exhibit Areas. Surfaces in the animal contact exhibit that can be touched by both fair patrons and animals shall be cleaned and disinfected daily and at any time visible contamination is present. All animal fencing, feed troughs, and open watering systems shall be disinfected prior to and at the end of each fair.
5. Regulations. For the protection of the public health and safety, the Commissioner of Agriculture, with the advice and approval of the State Board of Agriculture, and in consultation with the Division of Public Health of the Department of Health and Human Services, shall adopt rules concerning the operation of and issuance of permits for animal exhibitions. Suggested Regulations:
An animal contact exhibit shall provide visible signage at the entrance and exit of the exhibit to educate the public regarding:
(i) the fact that animal contact may pose a health risk;
(ii) items that are prohibited in animal areas;
(iii) the identity of high risk populations, including:
(a) the elderly;
(b) children under the age of six;
(c) women who are pregnant;
(d) people with an existing health condition; and
(iiii) the location of hand-washing stations.
(a) Animals and bedding shall be separated from the public with fencing to minimize the public’s contact with manure and bedding.
(b) Fencing shall be at least 29 inches high. On the side(s) of the exhibit intended for public contact, the fencing shall have a solid board or panel at the bottom at least eight inches high to contain manure and bedding.
(c) Fencing may allow children to reach through or over to pet and feed animals.
(3) Prohibited Items:
(a) In order to minimize hand to mouth contact, no pacifiers, baby bottles, drink cups, food, drink or smoking shall be allowed in animal contact exhibits.
(4) Venue operators should take the following steps:
- Become familiar with and implement the recommendations in this compendium.
- Consult with veterinarians, state and local agencies, and cooperative extension personnel on implementation of the recommendations.
- Become knowledgeable about the risks for disease and injury associated with animals and be able to explain risk-reduction measures to staff members and visitors.
- Be aware that direct contact with some animals is inappropriate in public settings, and this should be evaluated separately for different audiences.
- Develop or obtain training and educational materials and train staff members.
- Ensure that visitors receive educational messages before they enter the exhibit, including information that animals can cause injuries or carry organisms that can cause serious illness.
- Provide information in a simple and easy-to-under- stand format that is age and language appropriate.
- Provide information in multiple formats (e.g., signs, stickers, handouts, and verbal information) and languages.
- Provide information to persons arranging school field trips or classroom exhibits so that they can educate participants and parents before the visit.
- Venue staff members should take the following steps:
- Become knowledgeable about the risks for disease and injury associated with animals and be able to explain risk-reduction recommendations to visitors.
- Ensure that visitors receive educational messages regarding risks and prevention measures.
- Encourage compliance by the public with risk- reduction recommendations, especially compliance with hand-washing procedures as visitors exit animal areas.
(5) Venues should be designed to minimize risk. Farm animal contact is not appropriate at food service establishments and infant care settings, and special care should be taken with school-aged children. At venues where farm animal contact is desired, layout should provide a separate area where humans and animals interact and an area where animals are not allowed. Food and beverages should be prepared, served, and consumed only in animal-free areas. Animal petting should occur only in the interaction area to facilitate close supervision and coaching of visitors. Clear separation methods such as double barriers should be present to prevent contact with animals and their environment other than in the interaction area. Recommendations for animal areas are as follows:
- Do not allow consumption of food and beverages in these areas.
- Do not allow toys, pacifiers, spill-proof cups, baby bottles, strollers, or similar items to enter the area.
- Prohibit smoking and other tobacco product use.
- Supervise children closely to discourage hand-to- mouth activities (e.g., nail biting and thumb sucking), contact with manure, and contact with soiled bedding. Children should not be allowed to sit or play on the ground in animal areas. If hands become soiled, supervise hand washing immediately.
- Ensure that regular animal feed and water are not accessible to the public.
- Allow the public to feed animals only if contact with animals is controlled (e.g., with barriers).
- Do not provide animal feed in containers that can be eaten by humans (e.g., ice cream cones) to decrease the risk of children eating food that has come into contact with animals.
- Promptly remove manure and soiled animal bedding from these areas.
- Assign trained staff members to encourage appropriate human-animal interactions, identify and reduce potential risks for patrons, and process reports of injuries and exposures.
- Store animal waste and specific tools for waste removal (e.g., shovels and pitchforks) in designated areas that are restricted from public access.
- Avoid transporting manure and soiled bedding through nonanimal areas or transition areas. If this is unavoidable, take precautions to prevent spillage.
- Where feasible, disinfect the area (e.g., flooring and railings) at least once daily.
- Provide adequate ventilation both for animals and humans.
- Minimize the use of animal areas for public activities (e.g., weddings and dances).
- If areas previously used for animals must be used for public events, they should be cleaned and disinfected, particularly if food and beverages are served.
(6) Recommendations for nonanimal areas are as follows:
- Do not permit animals, except for service animals, in nonanimal areas.
- Store, prepare, serve, or consume food and beverages only in nonanimal areas.
- Provide hand-washing facilities and display hand- washing signs where food or beverages are served.
- Entrance transition areas should be designed to facilitate education.
- Post signs or otherwise notify visitors that they are entering an animal area and that there are risks associated with animal contact.
- Instruct visitors not to eat, drink, smoke, and place their hands in their mouth, or use bottles or pacifiers while in the animal area.
- Establish storage or holding areas for strollers and related items (e.g., wagons and diaper bags).
- Control visitor traffic to prevent overcrowding.
- Exit transition areas should be designed to facilitate hand washing.
- Post signs or otherwise instruct visitors to wash their hands when leaving the animal area.
- Provide accessible hand-washing stations for all visitors, including children and persons with disabilities. Position venue staff members near exits to encourage compliance with proper hand washing.
(6) Age Requirements:
Unsupervised children less than six years old shall not be permitted in animal contact areas.
(7) Feeding of Animals:
Only food provided by the animal contact exhibit may be fed to the animals. Animal food shall not be provided in containers that are human food items, such as ice cream cones.
An animal contact exhibit shall be staffed at all times of operation by at least one person who has the authority to ensure that the exhibit complies with this Subchapter. The owner, operator or person in charge of an animal contact exhibit shall be responsible for compliance with this Subchapter, and shall not knowingly permit violations by its employees, agents or patrons.
(9) Exhibit Areas:
(a) Surfaces in the animal contact exhibit that can be touched by both fair patrons and animals shall be made of impervious material, and shall be cleaned and disinfected daily and at any time visible contamination is present.
(b) All animal fencing, feed troughs, and open watering systems shall be disinfected prior to and at the end of each fair.
(c) Contact animal exhibits shall be held on impervious surfaces whenever feasible.
(d) Impervious exhibit areas shall be cleaned and disinfected at the end of the fair.
(e) Exhibit areas that are not impervious shall be cleaned of all manure at the end of the fair and shall not be used for human activities for at least six months after cleaning.
(10) Waste Disposal:
The fair shall designate a manure disposal area and shall control wastewater runoff. The animal contact exhibit shall have a designated area for temporary storage of animal waste and shall not transport such waste through areas occupied by fair patrons. Manure disposal and storage areas shall be inaccessible to the public, unless waste is bagged and placed in a closeable dumpster.
(11) Handwashing Stations:
(a) Hand-washing stations with soap, hot running water, paper towels and disposal containers shall be located within 10 feet of the exit of an animal contact exhibit, wherever feasible.
(b) Hand-washing stations suitable for small children shall be available in the same area as the stations in Paragraph (a) of this Rule.
(c) Signage shall be provided to direct patrons to hand-washing stations.
(d) In order to promote hand-washing with soap and water, dispensers for waterless hand sanitizing lotions, gels or hand wipes shall not be provided in the transition or exhibit area. Such dispensers may be placed at the entrance of milking booths to reduce the potential for introduction of disease to the exhibit animals.
(12) Food and Drink:
Food and beverages for human consumption shall not be sold, prepared, served, or consumed in transition areas.
(13) Daily Monitoring:
Animals shall be monitored daily by exhibit personnel for signs of illness. Animals that exhibit signs of illness shall be removed from public contact immediately.
(14) High Risk and Birthing Animals:
Animals that pose a high disease risk to humans, as determined by the State Veterinarian or his representative, shall not be allowed in animal contact exhibits. No near-birth or birthing sheep, cattle or goats and no sheep, cattle or goats that have given birth within the previous two weeks shall be allowed in animal contact exhibits.
- “Reducing the Risk for Transmission of Enteric Pathogens at Petting Zoos, Open Farms, Animal Exhibits, and Other Venues Where the Public Has Contact With Farm Animals” – 2001 CDC Recommendations
- “Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings.” The most recent National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians Animal Contact Compendium Committee 2013
- Pennsylvania 3 Pa.C.S. § 2502
- North Carolina G.S. 106-520.3A, also known as Aedin’s Law
- Washington WAC 246-100-192