As agritourism booms throughout the country, it’s more important than ever to consider how you can keep visitors safe when they tour your pig farm.
According to the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH), farm tours give people of all ages an exciting opportunity to interact with animals face-to-face. However, this can also put people at risk for some illnesses that can be spread between animals and people.
The take-home message? Be proactive and communicate with your visitors to lower the risk. UMASH offers eight tips to help you prepare for visitors.
1. Position fully stocked handwashing stations with running water and soap where guests will use them after visiting animals. Stations should be accessible to children and persons with disabilities.
2. Hand sanitizer should supplement, not replace, soap and water, because it does not kill parasites like Cryptosporidium.
3. Do not allow visitors into pens. Only allow petting of animals over/through barriers.
4. Manure/soiled bedding should not be transported through public areas.
5. If animals show signs of illness such as diarrhea, skin lesions or coughing, remove them from the exhibit area.
6. Create transition areas between non-animal and animal areas. Signage should be at the entrances (i.e., no food or drink allowed in animal areas). Exit areas should have handwashing stations so that visitors cannot miss them.
7. Keep food, drinks, baby bottles, pacifiers, toys, and strollers out of animal areas.
8. Supervise children younger than 5 years old while with the animals and during handwashing. Young children are more likely to get sick because they are more likely to put their hands in their mouth.
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