Visitor attractions involving animals

E. coli infection can happen during visits to open farms, where it can transfer from infected animals to humans.

We encourage visits to such attractions, but we also strongly recommend taking sensible precautions to help reduce the risk of illnesses such as E. coli.

Our advice if you are visiting an open farm is:

  • assume that all cattle, sheep and goats are infected with E. coli O157 bacteria, even if the animals look clean and healthy. You can pick up E. coli O157 by touching animals, fences and other surfaces and accidentally transfer the bacteria to your mouth
  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, to greatly reduce the chance of infection. Remember to wash your hands after touching an animal, before eating or drinking, and after removing clothing and shoes worn on the farm
  • young children are particularly vulnerable to E. coli O157 infection and are more likely to suffer serious illness as a result. Children should be closely supervised to ensure that they wash their hands properly after contact with animals

Read the Health Protection Agency advice for E.Coli infection prevention or the Health and Safety Executive’s advice on preventing or controlling ill health form animal contact at visitor attractions for more detailed advice.