The Castle and Gardens of Mey - The Queen Mother's Home in Caithness
The History of the Castle of Mey
Visiting the Castle of Mey
The Gardens
Visitor Information
Recipe Book
The Castle of Mey Trust
Longoe Farm
Friends and Patrons
Holiday Lets
Contact Us
Telephone   01847 851473
Aberdeen Angus
Opening Times
Admission Prices
Location Map
New Information leaflet
Inside the Castle
Disabled Access
Castle Shop
Groups and Coach Parties
The Castle Turret
Mey Games
Support the Castle for free
The Animal Centre
Animal Centre Health & Safety Guidelines
Spinning at the Animal Centre

Visitor Information

Animal Centre Health & Safety Guidelines


Thank you for your interest in visiting the Castle of Mey Animal Centre. We hope that your visit will be an enjoyable, educational and memorable experience.

The Castle of Mey Animal Centre complies with Health & Safety regulations and it is important that all supervising adults and visitors are aware of the correct Health & Safety and Behaviour Policies. Attention is drawn to the Industry Code of Practice: Preventing or controlling ill health from animal contact at visitor attractions and also the teachers supplement Advice to Teachers and Others who organise visits for children which can be downloaded from the following website:

Your welfare, health and safety during your visit are taken very seriously. We keep and maintain a very high standard of cleanliness for our visitors and do our best to ensure that the Animal Centre is a safe environment. Please be aware that all animals naturally carry a range of micro-organisms, some of which can be transmitted to humans, causing ill health. Some, such as the bacterium Escherichia coli O157 (E coli O157) cause infections which can potentially cause disease, which may be particularly acute in young children. While the hazard from infection resulting from a farm visit is real, the risk is very small because it can be readily controlled by following simple guidelines and procedures which will help make your visit safe, healthy and enjoyable.

Particular attention must be given to the following existing control measures:

  • Hand Washing. The risk of catching most germs can be eliminated by good hygiene. All children and adults who have touched or fed any of the animals must wash their hands with soap and warm running water and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel before leaving the Animal Centre. Hand gels and sanitisers are not a substitute for thorough hand washing but can be used as an additional measure after hands are dried. Hand washing and toilet facilities are situated in the Animal Centre building. Signs remind visitors to wash their hands after contact with the animals.
  • Nursery children. Young children should be discouraged from putting their fingers in their mouth and touching their faces with particular care taken to supervise thumb and finger suckers. All children should be supervised to ensure that they wash their hands properly.
  • Cuts and Scratches. Cuts and grazes should be covered with a waterproof dressing before the visit. There is a first aid point in the Animal Centre. Animal Centre staff have completed a first aid course.
  • Eating. No food to be eaten at the Animal Centre.
  • Feeding the animals. Children should hold their hands out flat when feeding the animals and should not put their fingers into the animals mouths. They should not feed animals where there are no feeding signs. Children and adults should wipe their hands directly afterwards with the anti-bacterial wipes provided as a short term measure until thoroughly washing their hands at the end of the visit. Animal Centre staff members will closely supervise the feeding of animals.
  • Contact with Animals. Do not chase, frighten or torment the animals. Animals should be approached quietly and carefully and treated with respect. Do not kiss the animals. Keep animals away from your face to minimise the risk of direct contact with animal saliva.
  • Animal Paddocks and Pens. Visitors are not allowed into the animal paddocks and pens. Visitors should not climb on walls, fences or animal pens.
  • Safety Talk. A health and safety talk, appropriate to age, will be given on arrival at the Animal Centre to pupils and teachers Listen carefully, and follow the instructions and information given by the Animal Centre staff.
  • Supervision. Pupils remain your responsibility at all times during your visit. All school and nursery visits will be accompanied by Animal Centre staff but at no time will they be in sole supervision of individuals or groups. Teachers should ensure that the group is adequately supervised with the appropriate ratios of adults to children according to age. Discuss with the supervisors, who may be parents or staff of the school/nursery, their role during the visit. They must understand the need to make sure that the children wash, or are helped to wash, their hands thoroughly after touching animals. Please explain to your pupils that they are expected to maintain a good standard of behaviour during their visit. Children should be made aware of the importance of staying in their groups at all times and not wandering off alone. At no time are children left alone with livestock.
  • After your visit. Any person who becomes ill following a visit and feels that they may have contracted an infection from an animal should immediately contact their GP and clearly describe the level of contact that they have had with that animal.

    The following gives a list of hazards or activities on the site, risks associated with the hazards, potential to cause harm, actions required by visitors and controls already in place:

    Uneven, slippery surfaces, wet grass -Slipping, tripping, falling -Low risk - Children must be adequately supervised and instructed not to run on the site and proceed at walking pace only.

  • Supervisors and children should be aware of the possibility of wet grass.
  • All floors and passages are kept clear.

    Car Park - Moving vehicles - Medium risk - Children must be controlled at all times when exiting and boarding coaches or cars.

  • Ensure children remain in their groups at all times and maintain a safe distance from moving vehicles.

    Climbing on walls/ fences/animal pens - Falling - Medium risk.

  • Children should be adequately supervised and instructed not to climb on walls, fences, gates and other objects on the site.

    Animals and poultry - Biting, scratching, kicking and pecking - Medium risk.

  • Control and good supervision of group is essential.
  • Supervisors should make children aware of the dangers from being bitten, scratched etc by animals.
  • Staff will demonstrate the correct way to feed and approach animals.
  • Animals to be approached and handled with care and quietly.
  • When feeding the chickens the feed should be thrown in and not given by hand.
  • Verbal warnings - children and adults to respect animals and follow staff instructions.
  • Visitors must not enter animal and poultry enclosures.
  • All school and nursery visit children supervised when feeding animals.
  • All animals on site are selected for their docile nature.
  • Signs displayed identifying animals that may bite and those that are not to be fed e.g. donkey and pigs.
  • First aid supplies on site and first aid trained staff are available.

    Animal hair/straw/ dust/feathers - Asthma/ skin reactions - High risk.

  • Children must bring with them any medication they require.
  • Children with known allergies to avoid contact.

    Animals - Ill health from germs spread from animals to humans (zoonoses) - Infection - High risk

  • Supervisors should be aware that there is always a risk from infection in any environment.
  • Be aware of the risk from children placing their fingers in their mouth or touching their faces.
  • Ensure that children do not hug or kiss the animals.
  • Ensure that any existing cuts and abrasions are protected by a waterproof dressing.
  • Supervisors should ensure that they and the children in their care wash their hands thoroughly after handling or feeding any animal.
  • All visiting groups must have adequate numbers of adults to supervise children, including extra provisions for special needs groups.
  • Provision of hand washing facilities in Animal Centre building. Hand washing signs clearly on display.
  • Hand gels and sanitisers are not a substitute for hand washing but can be used as an additional measure.
  • No food or drinks are to be consumed when visiting the Animal Centre.

  • There is daily inspection of animals by animal centre staff. Any animal with signs of illness will be taken away from public access areas. Vaccination of animals where applicable.
  • Site is kept clean. Regular housekeeping of animal pens and paddocks to ensure animal faeces are removed as soon as possible.
  • Gates, fencing etc. are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Teats of wooden milking cow are disinfected daily.
  • Manure heaps situated away from public contact.
  • No free range chickens to avoid ground contamination and soiling of feet.

    Contact details:
    The Animal Centre
    Castle of Mey
    KW14 8XL

    Tel no: 01847 851473

    DSM 26.04.13

    top of page ...  
The Castle of Mey
KW14 8XH
Visit The Castle of Mey on Facebook Follow The Castle of Mey on Instagram Follow The Castle of Mey on Twitter
The Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust © 2008 - 2018
registered as a Scottish Charity (No SC024983)

web programming © Scottish Web Design

Website Policy Statement

Thursday 19 April 2018