Animal farms are safe bosses at award-winning attraction speak out
OWNERS of an award-winning farm attraction say it would be sad if the E.coli scare puts families off having the chance to enjoy experiencing animals in a secure and fun environment. Sam and Kim Flint who run Woodhouse Farm at Friday Bridge have made some
OWNERS of an award-winning farm attraction say it would be sad if the E.coli scare puts families off having the chance to enjoy experiencing animals in a secure and fun environment.
Sam and Kim Flint who run Woodhouse Farm at Friday Bridge have made some changes because of the fear generated following the closure of four farm parks in other parts of the country when 36 people contracted the illness.
Mrs Flint, said: "As an attraction that has had to contend with three bad summers and numerous other scares, for those people who are really concerned, we do have undercover play equipment and activities and events which can mean avoiding close contact with animals.
"All of us here at Woodhouse Farm think it is really sad if the incidents put young children and families off having the opportunity to experience animals in a secure and fun environment.
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"Most things in life have a risk attached to them it is a matter of putting it into context for you and you and your families."
Most outbreaks of E.coli are caused either by food contamination or person to person spread.
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Mr and Mrs Flint said: "We have made the decision in the light of the fear to put our chickens, rabbits and any other animals that used to play with the children - including Itsy the pygmy goat who loved the sunken trampoline - into contained pens. There are still some animal contact areas and we will still have pony rides.
"We have put up more signs to encourage people to wash their hands, and cleansed areas with disinfectant. We have also given schools due to visit extra information from the Health and Safety Executive which they can pass on to concerned parents."
The couple opened the farm to visitors in 2007 and have welcomed more than 50,000 visitors from a wide area. The holiday let has attracted visitors from all over the UK and from America, Australia, Holland, Portugal and Brazil.
They have plans to include spinning, wool dying, and cheese and ice cream in their successful schools programme over the next couple of years.
Mrs Flint said: "The schoolchildren have a practical, relevant and realistic experience of farming, the rural environment, conservation and last but not least, the chance to let off steam."
E.coli fact file
n E.coli is a group of bacteria which live in the intestine of people and animals. Some types can cause illness such as diarrhoea.
n The usual way of catching it is by eating or drinking something containing the E.coli bacteria such as raw or undercooked meat.
n It can also be caught from infected people especially in nurseries and schools but also from handling infected animals including pets and farm animals.
n Symptoms usually last from one to five days. It is important to keep drinking clear fluids. Personal and household hygiene is very important.