Posted: Sep 20, 2009 9:35 AM by Jamie Smith
One of Britain's top microbiologists has advised parents that children under five shouldn't be allowed to touch or feed animals at petting zoos. Professor Hugh Pennington said no matter how vigilant parents were; young children would inevitably put their fingers in their mouths - putting them at greater risk to the potentially deadly E-coli bug.
"Don't let them touch the animals. you can take them, as long as the farm is well run. you can make a judgment on that. If there's a sign about washing their hands, that's a pretty good sign they're doing what they're supposed to do, but don't let those young kids touch the animals." Professor Hugh Pennigton said.
Some say the fear of E-coli infection has got out of hand. Linda Tucker, a grandmother, said "I think it's absolutely awful, people scared to come and experience animals. I mean, I've grown up around animals, experiencing them all my life and I think children need that. It's very important."