Handwashing At Petting Zoos

Handwashing in Petting Zoos Needs Enforcement

“Marler Clark, the Seattle law firm representing several victims a Florida E. coli outbreak, is calling on legislators nation-wide to put into law requirements for the protection of petting zoo visitors. Proposed requirements include increasing signage and warnings about health risks associated with human-animal contact, providing adequate handwashing facilities at strategic locations throughout petting zoos, and designing petting zoos with the intent of reducing the risks of human contact with animal feces.”

The above quote may shock some that petting zoos attended by children across the country can be dangerous! Why so? Consider the germs that the children take home with them on their hands! Ecoli contamination on the children’s hands is one of the major concerns.

What can be done about this problem? One thing that the law firm suggest doing is posting warning signs that remind parents of the potential problem. Once parents know of the problem, they are more likely to have their children wash their hands after a visit to the petting zoo.

Most of the existing laws involving petting zoos involve the humane treatment of animals. The Marler Clark law firm would like to see new laws that require more handwashing stations at petting zoos along with increased signage.

The state of Pennsylvania has laws regarding petting zoos that other states might consider according to the Center of Disease Control. The two sections below from the Pennsylvania law show how a simple beginning to the solution.

1) An operator shall promote public awareness of the risk of contracting a zoonotic disease at the animal exhibition and of the measures necessary to minimize the risk of contraction by posting appropriate notices at the animal exhibition.

(2) An adequate hand-cleansing facility for adults and children shall be conveniently located on the animal exhibition grounds. The operator shall post appropriate notices which designate the location of the hand-cleansing facility . . . and encourage the cleansing of hands after touching animals, using the restroom, and before eating.

Handwashing and Petting Zoo Dangers Remain in the News

It is generally believed that little is being done across the country in regards to the dangers of petting zoos and the spread of dangerous pathogens to the children that visit them. Unfortunately, this is a real problem that is not going away anytime soon according to the Marler Clark law firm.

It appears that the simple act of handwashing would reduce the threat of what could be life threatening disease germs. Handwashing works in the prevention and spread of disease germs!