There are major changes at the North Carolina State Fair this year, especially at the petting zoos.
Changes were made to keep visitors and animals apart, in an effort to prevent a repeat of last year’s E.coli outbreak. They include:
• No free-roaming animals. All are kept in some sort of enclosure.
• With the exception of the petting zoo near Gate 5, the children’s zoo near Gate 7, a “learn-to-milk-a-cow” exhibit and an elephant used as a children’s ride, touching animals by visitors is not allowed. This is especially true in areas where food is present, such as in the livestock barns.
• Only people showing or judging livestock are allowed to touch the animals.
• No food, drink or children’s equipment, such as strollers, is allowed in the petting zoo, children’s barnyard or State Fair Ark.
• Plastic banners stretch between visitors and the metal containers holding animals. This makes it nearly impossible for children to reach out and touch livestock.
• Recorded reminders not to touch the animals and to wash hands play repeatedly in English and Spanish.