Visits to farms can present particular issues in relation to health. Animals naturally carry a range of micro-organisms, some of which can be transmitted to humans, in whom they may cause ill health and which in some cases may be severe or life threatening. These are referred to as zoonotic diseases and commonly include E.coli O157 and cryptosporidium.
The following sources of information will provide visit leaders with what they need to know before farm visits and what precautions they can take to stay safe. Leaders should also refer to their employer’s policy.
- Avoiding ill health at open farms – Advice to farmers: The full code of practice is available at www.face-online.org.uk/CodeofPractice. A shorter summary document and a teacher’s supplement are also available to download. This document replaces AIS23: ‘Preventing or controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attractions’ which has been withdrawn
- Farmwise – Health and Safety Executive MISC165
- Guidelines for Farm Visits – The Royal Highland Education Trust
If any child or member of the group shows signs of illness (i.e. sickness or diarrhoea) after a visit, advise them or their parent / guardian to visit the doctor and explain that they have had recent contact with animals.