Protecting Public Health - NC Sanctioned Agricultural Fairs and Aedin’s Law

In 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly passed G.S. 106-520.3A, also known as Aedin’s Law, providing protection to the public regarding animal contact exhibits at sanctioned agricultural fairs.

What is an Animal Contact Exhibit?
An "Animal Contact Exhibit" means any exhibit at an agricultural fair where animals are displayed for the purpose of petting, holding, feeding, or other physical contact by humans, including but not limited to petting zoos, pony rides, milking booths, and poultry handling exhibits. To obtain a permit, exhibits must meet certain requirements as outlined in the NC Administrative Code.

Do I require an Animal Contact Exhibit Permit?
An Animal Contact Exhibit Permit is required under Aedin’s Law for all animal contact exhibits at sanctioned agricultural fairs in NC. Examples of these types of exhibits include, but are not limited to, petting zoos, pony rides, and milking booths. A flow chart is linked to help determine whether you need a permit from NCDA&CS. To obtain a permit, exhibits must meet certain requirements as outlined in the NC Administrative Code.

What is the process to obtain an Animal Contact Exhibit Permit?
Permits for animal contact exhibits are issued following receipt of a completed application at least 30 days prior to the start of the fair.

Animal Contact Signs for fair

An inspection will be performed by NCDA&CS personnel the day before or the morning of the fair opening. If all criteria are met in the NC Administrative Code, then the inspection will be deemed satisfactory, and a permit will be issued. 

A check list of requirements has been created to help exhibitors meet the permit requirements. These requirements include, but are not limited to, signage, fencing, handwashing stations, exhibit staffing, cleaning and disinfection procedures, waste disposal activities, health certificates, and vaccinations for all exhibit animals (when applicable).

What is a sanctioned agricultural fair in North Carolina?
Sanctioned agricultural fairs are inspected and licensed by the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The goal of these fairs is to keep the tradition of agricultural production, heritage crafts, and growing and preserving techniques alive for current and future generations to understand. They must offer a minimum number of exhibits in certain categories to be considered an agricultural fair. All the information needed and the required forms are listed in the Fair Managers Handbook. For any questions about sanctioned agricultural fairs in NC, please contact Kevin Hardison, Agricultural Fair Coordinator with NCDA&CS, at or 919-707-3123.

Common Illnesses caused by animal contact
Some of the most common illnesses are caused by germs such as Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, and E. coli. For more information and how to prevent infection go to the CDC website.



National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians
Compendium and Resources for animal contact exhibits in public settings: Compendium