Petting zoo: Don’t feed the pigs

The past few weeks in Wellington have been windy and rainy, so to fight the black cloud blues my Canadian visitor and I traveled north to the Coromandel peninsula for some sun. The beaches were gorgeous and the skies cloudless.

While up north I decided to visit a petting zoo (animal farm). I know these activities are marketed towards families with children under 10, but I love animals and couldn’t resist. I paid the dollar for a bag of food, and as I proceeded to enter the zoo the lady at the counter told me to sign the waiver form. The form basically excused the zoo of any wrongdoing that happened to visitors, and instructed visitors not to feed the pigs. There was no mention of the potential illnesses that can be spread by being in contact with some of the animals, or the steps to prevent these illnesses (hand washing), although there were signs in the toilets (see right).

I cut my visit short after feeding a horse. I had a flashback to the North Carolina girl whose finger was bitten off by a zebra and decided to return to the beach instead – but not before I washed my hands.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time