As a parent, I'm often under great pressure from my kids to allow them to playwith animals. On holiday in Austria last year, they spent a lot of time in a small farmyard in the grounds of our hotel. There were rabbits, guinea pigs, horses and goats. The place stank to high heaven, but I comforted myself with the thought that the mini-Ws would be forced to wash their hands afterwards.
The recent outbreak of E.Coli at a farm in Surrey shows my optimism to be rather naive. Kids don't wash their hands. And when they do, the activity tends to be perfunctory. Rather than having signs advising cleanliness, we should have warnings that say 'look but don't touch'. After all, what's the point of binning your swine flu tissue if you're then going to cuddle a goat that's covered in its own poop?