Good and bad of Ekka animal areas

We’ve been immersing ourselves in Brisbane culture. Saturday it was an Aussie rules football game – my second favorite sport because of the speed and violence aggressiveness after ice hockey. Basketball and baseball would be far more interesting if there was full body contact.

Today was a state holiday in Queensland so we joined 70,000 others for People’s Day at the Ekka – the Royal Queensland Show, originally called the Brisbane Exhibition and usually shortened to Ekka.

Ekka runs over 10 days and is similar to American-style state fairs or the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto: bad food, hucksters of various wares, a large midway, and the best livestock from across the state.

There was a petting zoo, a short of controlled-chaos the like of which I’d never seen (right, exactly as shown) where hundreds of parents and their kids roamed in a large pit with goats, sheep, cattle, and shelled out some cash to feed the animals from a cup. Kids were crying and falling in poop, animals were scarfing down food, parents were interested in the free hat upon departure from the enclosed area.

Both hand sanitation and handwashing stations were available at the departure point, which was good, although reminders could have been more graphic: the compliance rate appeared low.

Other areas of the livestock pens included cattle and goats, where contact was encouraged but no handwashing signs or facilities were available. One budding entrepreneur – the dude in the black hat — offered cuddle-a-goat for $1.

“You two go in and I’ll give him $1 and take your picture.”

“That will be $2 for two.”

No handwashing. Bad.

A table of petting zoo related outbreaks is available at