Ontario is set to introduce new rules and regulations as of July 1, 2018, regarding requirements for livestock rabies vaccination. All animals that will interact with the public will be required to maintain up-to-date vaccinations.
Why is this a concern?
Rabies isn’t fun, you guys. But also, the changes to rabies immunization requirements for animals is meant to align with the modernization of the Ontario Public Health Standards. To wit:
“Under Section 96(4)(e) of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations requiring and governing the immunization of domestic animals against any disease that may adversely affect the health of any person. O. Reg. 567 (Rabies Immunization) under the HPPA has required rabies vaccination of dogs, cats and certain classes of livestock in Ontario since 1986. However, rabies immunization requirements for animals have previously varied from health unit to health unit.
As of July 1, 2018, all rabies immunization requirements will apply uniformly across all health units in the province. This includes immunization of certain classes of livestock which previously only applied in certain health units.”
Wait, does this mean all my 4-H animals need to be vaccinated?
The new rules stipulate that animals intended for interaction with the public require vaccination. Examples may include horses, cattle, and sheep in settings where the general public is encouraged and/or expected to have direct contact with these animals, such as petting zoos; corporate birthday parties, and other “animal experience” events; and interactive animal exhibits where members of the public are intended to handle or pet the animals.
Therapy animals, service animals and riding school horses would also fall under the scope of the immunization requirements.
“Animals participating in 4-H events, including clubs, clinics, and shows would not be subject to the requirement for rabies vaccinations unless these animals are intended to come into direct contact (e.g. petting, feeding) with the general public. When animals are kept or held in areas which may be accessible to the general public, reasonable measures (e.g. signage, physical barriers, etc.) should be used to prevent persons not authorized to handle or interact with animals at fairs, clinics and shows from accessing animals in holding or stabling areas.”
Is that a yes or a no?
If you attend fairs or shows, you may need to add signage to the show box. Something along the lines of “No touching or feedings of animals” will have to be prominently displayed in areas accessible to the public.
If you occasionally host a farm tour you may have to take extra precautions to ensure members of the public don’t come in direct contact with animals. An animal used for a milking demonstration, where the public are invited to try their hand at it, however, would be required to have an up-to-date immunization.