Updated Industry Code of Practice for animal visitor attractions published.

In response to the future easing of lockdown, an updated Industry Code of Practice for preventing or controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attractions, has been released to ensure that the public, and particularly children, are safe when interacting with animals.

The revised Code of Practice provides sensible, practical and proportionate guidance on preventing or controlling ill health at these venues. It gives clear guidance on practical measures that can be applied to ensure businesses comply with the law and keep visitors, customers, and staff safe.

Written by industry for industry, in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the code is aimed at farmers, owners, operators and managers of visitor attractions.  It applies to a whole range of attractions including: conventional farms that open to the public once a year; farm shops with livestock close by; mobile petting farms; city farms; school visits to farms; farm parks which welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the year; agricultural shows and country fairs.

The HSE has issued the following endorsement:“The Health and Safety Executive was consulted in the production of this publication. It endorses the sensible, proportionate, reasonable and balanced advice to owners on managing visitor health and safety set out in the Industry Code of Practice.”

The code has also gained support from The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health: “The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health supports the adoption and promotion of this Industry Code of Practice and believes that compliance with these standards will be the means to minimise risks to health from visitor contact with animals.”

All animals naturally carry a range of microorganisms and, in rare occasions when passed from animals to humans, these can cause illness ranging from diarrhoea through to kidney failure and can even be fatal.  Therefore, it is vital all those seeking to welcome visitors adhere to the code and ensure that members of the public are informed and aware of the procedures in place to keep them safe.

The Access to Farms partners, which revises and updates the code, continue to highlight the critical role that good hygiene, particularly hand washing, plays in keeping each other safe. With society accustomed to using hand sanitisers in the fight against COVID, it is important to note that antibiotic hand gels are not an effective substitute to hand washing.  In particular gels are not effective against the Cryptosporidium zoonotic disease.

Within the latest version of the code, ‘look and see’ areas are now considered and addressed according to risk.  There are more robust requirements of double fencing where possible and is reasonable. The revised code also now includes a section on mobile petting farms.

The Access to Farms partnership includes representatives of a number of organisations whose members encourage visitors, especially children, to visit their farm attraction, farm or other premises to view, touch or pet animals.

To view the Revised Industry Code of Practice visit: https://www.visitmyfarm.org/component/k2/339-industry-code-of-practice

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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.