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Agricultural Exhibits and Events

Agricultural Exhibits and Events
  • Animal exhibits and events, such as fairs and petting zoos, provide excellent opportunities to further build human-animal bonds and to explore the animal world.
  • However, animals have the potential to carry germs that may cause people to become sick.
  • Even animals that look healthy and clean can carry harmful germs.
  • You don't have to touch an animal to get sick.  Areas were animals live and roam can also be contaminated with germs.
  • Its important to know the ways to stay healthy while enjoying animals.
  •  Wash your hands!
    • Find where the handwashing stations are located.
    • Wash your hands right after touching animals or anything in the areas where they live, roam or eat.
    • Wash your hands when you leave areas with animals, even if you didn't touch them.  If you wore gloves, wash your hands after removing them.
    • Washing with running water and soap is best. If they are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you can.

    Keep food and animals separate

    • Don't eat or drink around animals and keep food and drinks away from animal areas.
    • Don't share your food with animals.  Animals should eat the food provided for them by the animal exhibit.
    • Don't eat or drink raw (unpasteurized) products that are made or sold at animal exhibits, such as milk, cheese, cider or juice.

    Keep children safe around animals

    • ALWAYS supervise children around animals.
    • Leave items such as strollers, wagons, pacifiers, cups or toys outside the exhibit.
    • Don't let children put their fingers or objects in their mouths when they are around animals or in an animal area.
    • Don't let children sit or play on the ground in animal areas.
    • Teach children to approach animals with caution and follow the rules of the exhibit and their staff. 
    • Do not let children put their fingers or objects near an animal's mouth-even unintentional bites can happen!

  • If you work, manage, or design animal exhibits

    • Provide stations for handwashing at the exits of animal exhibits, including some that are easy for children to reach.
    • Provide simple signs for guests on when and how to wash their hands in both animal areas and where people eat.
    • Keep dining and animal areas separate.
    • Train staff how to be safe working around animals and about the germs animals can carry.
    • Encourage staff to talk to visitors about being safe around animals and how to prevent sickness from germs animals can carry.

    Handwashing Educational Resources for Exhibits Organizers

    Resources for Exhibitors, Educators and Public Health Agencies

    • Communicable Disease Division Publication Order Form:  Order stickers ("After you touch a chick wash your hands") or posters ("After you touch ducklings or chicks, wash your hands so you don't get sick!") free of charge for Michigan local health departments, healthcare providers, social services agencies, and others.
    • Michigan State University Extension 4-H Animal Science Anywhere Activities with lesson plans:  The Animal Science Anywhere lesson series is designed to help leaders engage 4-H youth at club meetings or events in learning more about the science and life skills involved in animal and veterinary science projects. Youth may work in teams or individually to accomplish the lesson objectives. Lessons are flexible, providing adaptations for various locations, ages and audiences.
    • Animals in Public Settings Toolkit:  This toolkit includes educational resources that can be used in order to encourage implementation of the topics outlined in the Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings.  
    • Be Healthy at the Fair Sign:  The "Be Healthy at the Fair" sign may be used to help promote healthy behaviors at fairs and exhibitions.