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Chapter 10 : Diseases Transmitted by Domestic Livestock: Perils of the Petting Zoo
Contact with animals can be an enjoyable and beneficial activity. Health benefits have been attributed to animal contact. Reportedly, these benefits include reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure, and other physiologic effects (http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html). In addition to health benefits, petting zoos and animal contact settings provide educational opportunities. A growing segment of society in developed countries resides in urban or suburban settings with limited knowledge of agricultural practices or contact with farm animals. Petting zoos or agricultural exhibits provide education regarding food production, agricultural practices, and rural life. Similarly, zoological parks and aquariums are popular leisure attractions and provide opportunities for education about diverse and nonnative animal species and conservation of natural resources. Perils of animal contact can include allergies, injury, and zoonotic disease transmission.