The Standard of Excellence in Animal Welfare Auditing

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PAACO Updates


PAACO Welfare Auditor training opportunities continue to develop.  Several training sessions are already scheduled for the remainder of 2017 with more to be added.

2017 Training

  • August 8-10-Poultry Welfare Auditor Training-U. Ark, Fayetteville, AR
  • September 21-22 – Common Swine Industry Audit – Brookings, SD
  • October 16-17-Meat Plant Welfare Auditor-Nebraska
  • November-Canadian Poultry Welfare Auditor Training

Beginning this year, registration for training is now online and will allow better tracking of certification and recertification requirements.

As always, all certified auditors are listed on the website under each area they are qualified, and may also be found on the PAACO App for iPhone and Android.



February 3, 2017 – The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) announced today that it will offer the first of the 2017 training courses to certify swine welfare auditors to conduct the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA).

This training session will be March 29-30, 2017 and is hosted by Michigan State University at Swine Teaching and Research facility. As in the past, the web- based training called Swine 201 is a prerequisite.

The curriculum was developed in conjunction swine and welfare experts from industry and academia, along with support from the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council. Trainers will include experts in Swine Handling and Welfare from industry, academia and PAACO.

Registration is open and can be found at Class size is limited and initial attendees will be those currently actively working with swine third party audits.

 New PAACO Auditor Training for Swine--September 14, 2016

KEARNEY, MO, Sept. 14, 2016 – The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) announced today that it will offer the first in a series of training courses beginning in October to certify auditors to conduct the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA).

The first two training sessions will be held at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center in Waseca, Minnesota, and are scheduled for Oct. 25-27 and Dec. 6-8, 2016. In conjunction with this training, PAACO will initiate a new on-line registration process and a new web- based training called “Swine 201.” While this training is a required prerequisite for those attending the onsite training, it is also available for anyone to take who wishes to learn more about the pork industry or for continuing education credits. PAACO Vice Chair Angela Baysinger, DVM, said, “the training represents an important opportunity for PAACO to help the pork industry respond to the high level of interest in training auditors and employees in the area of animal care and handling.”

The curriculum has been developed in conjunction swine and welfare experts from industry and academia, along with support from the National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). Trainers will include experts in Swine Handling and Welfare from industry, academia and PAACO. Jan Archer, president of the National Pork Board stated: “Producers understand that third-party auditing is one component of a comprehensive commitment they have made to building and maintaining the trust of pork chain partners and consumers. With PAACO auditor training, producers have added confidence that auditors visiting their farms are trained in a standardized way.”

NPPC Vice President of Industry Relations Dallas Hockman said, “the Common Swine Industry Audit serves as a great example of the total pork industry chain coming together to create a tool that helps deliver confidence to our customers. A big part of that confidence comes from the audit being PAACO certified. Our food chain partners support third party PAACO certified auditors.”

Registration will be open the week of September 19, 2016 and can be found at Class size is limited and initial attendees will be those currently conducting or directing third party audits on swine farms.

PAACO is a non-profit association founded by veterinarian and animal science associations whose mission is to promote the humane treatment of animals through education and certification of animal auditors, as well as the review and/or certification of animal audit instruments, assessments and programs.


Collette Kaster of Kearney, Missouri, has been named new executive director of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO), the group’s board of directors announced today. She will assume the position in April, replacing Mike Simpson, who is retiring after 11 years with the organization.

A native of northwest Iowa, Kaster holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from South Dakota State University and an M.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She joins PAACO after serving most recently as senior vice president of quality technical services and hog procurement for Smithfield Foods. Prior to that she was with Premium Standard Farms and before that with PIC.

Kaster has long been involved with key industry activities such as the animal welfare committees of both the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the National Pork Board (NPB). She has served on the NPB’s Food Safety and Pork Quality Solutions committees and as a chair of the NAMI Inspection Committee. She was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection from 2001-03 and is past president of the American Meat Science Association as well as an AMSA Fellow.

“PAACO has seen great success under Mike Simpson’s direction and we are looking forward to expanding PAACO’s training portfolio under Collette’s leadership,” says PAACO Chair Jennifer Walker, DVM, PhD. “Collette brings to the table a depth and breadth of knowledge, experience and talent that will ensure that PAACO remains the leader in animal welfare audit certification and training. Without question, she has the skill set to take PAACO to the next level and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Kaster has been involved with PAACO as a trainer and a host facility, as well as supporting a number of shadow audits. She states, “I am looking forward to leading this organization and to helping shape the animal care and welfare initiatives for all species of livestock. The care of food animals has never been more scrutinized and PAACO serves a key role in the certification of audits and auditors to fill that need.”


A newly developed tool for auditing animal welfare in feedlots was given conditional approval and is the latest program to earn Certified Audit status from the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO).

“From PAACO’s perspective, this is a great accomplishment and shows great foresight on the part of the Canadian cattle feeders,” said Jennifer Walker, DVM, PhD, newly-elected PAACO chair. “Many species associations, processors, private audit companies and humane organizations have utilized PAACO’s third-3rd party, independent review process to ensure the quality and add credibility to their animal welfare audit instruments. This latest endeavor demonstrates PAACO’s commitment to working with all stakeholders while setting the standard in animal welfare audits.”

The Canadian Feedlot Animal Care Assessment Program developed by the Calgary, Alberta-based National Cattle Feeders Association (NCFA), is unique in that it is the first certified audit designed for the feedlot segment of the food production industry. It will cover the time period from when cattle are delivered to the feedlot through when they are loaded out to go to slaughter, thus harmonizes well with the PAACO-certified North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) meat plant welfare audit. The program is also complementary to the Canadian Beef Code of Practice with specific best management practices for feedlots.

The non-proprietary instrument is the product of a coalition of feedlot operators, packers and customers (retail and food service), veterinarians, ethologists, animal scientists and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Major packers Cargill, Tyson and JBS were key cooperators in developing the audit.

Lily Edwards-Callaway, PhD, JBS Beef Cattle Welfare leader and NAMI Handling Committee chair, said, “I commend the Canadian feedlot industry for taking on this animal welfare initiative that will serve as a complement to the NAMI plant audit tool. Consumers increasingly rank animal welfare as an important factor in their buying decisions and this tool will provide confidence in an integral segment of beef production. This initiative presents an opportunity for our industry to increase transparency and share our animal welfare values with discerning customers and consumers.”

“The feedlot industry has been proactive in working collectively with our processors and other stakeholders, such as our retailers, to develop this assessment tool,” said NCFA Chair Larry Schweitzer. “It was important to involve all players in the beef supply chain to create a credible audit instrument, which PAACO’s process brings to this tool. Our goal was to have a program that satisfied our packer customers and their retail and foodservice customers without adding costs, duplication or a bureaucratic burden on feedlot operations.”

Schweitzer added that his organization’s ultimate goal is to not only “have one common national feedlot animal care assessment tool used by all players in the beef supply chain”, but to eventually also “harmonize the Canadian feedlot animal care assessment program with the USA for a North American feedlot animal care audit/assessment program” similar to the NAMI audit for processing plants that is widely adopted in U.S. and Canadian establishments.

Now that the audit has been certified, NCFA’s next step will be to educate Canadian feedlot operators on the expectations and criteria to which they will be held accountable. PAACO will also be exploring the opportunities for training of certified feedlot auditors with the intent of developing curriculum and offering an auditor certification course.

Certifying animal welfare audit instruments is only one of the services offered by PAACO, whose animal welfare auditor trainings and auditor certifications for meat plants and poultry have become industry standards. PAACO currently has certified nine audits and there are others in the review process.

Information on all PAACO-certified audits and programs, as well as the 16 core criteria for certified audits, may be found on the “Certification” page of the PAACO website,


Contact: Mike Simpson

Jennifer Walker, DVM, PhD, of Dallas, Texas, was elected chairman of the board of directors of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) at the group’s annual meeting in Kansas City. Director of Dairy Stewardship for Dean Foods, Walker was the organization’s vice chairman the past two years. She succeeds Terry Mader, PhD, of Mader Consulting, LLC, Gretna, Nebraska. “I am proud to serve PAACO,” said Walker. “I am excited about helping implement our new strategic plan which will ensure that PAACO remains the authority in animal welfare audit certification and auditor trainings.”

Named vice chairman was Angela Baysinger, DVM, Bruning, Nebraska, health assurance veterinarian for Merck Animal Health. Rounding out the officer team are Secretary Ted Friend, PhD, animal science professor at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, and Treasurer Dave Sjeklocha, DVM, operations manager of animal health and welfare at Cattle Empire, LLC, Satanta, Kansas. The organization’s executive director is Mike Simpson.

Paul Beck, PhD, professor at University of Arkansas is a newly-appointed board member representing the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS). He replaces Mader as one of three ARPAS appointees.

PAACO’s mission is to promote animal welfare through auditor training and audit certification.

Continuing Education

Listed below are some opportunities that are approved for the re-certification requirements for PAACO Continuing Education:

UC Davis Stockmanship and Stewardship Event

June 23 & 24, 2017 | UC Davis Campus | Davis, California

Two days of learning and demonstrations that are sure to improve your operation.  With live cattle handling demonstrations, hands-on training, and the newest information you are sure to find value by attending this Stockmanship and Stewardship event.

Click here for more information or to register!


Texas Tech Meat School in Spanish/Meat School en Español

July 16-22, 2017  | Texas Tech University | Lubbock, Texas

This training will offer participants a comprehensive overview of current developments and trends in good meat production and processing practices to maximize quality, safety and competitiveness. The latest technologies, equipment and ingredients for the development of value added meat products will be discussed through lectures, hands-on activities, and plant tours. Participants will learn problem-solving skills and process optimization in meat processing and leadership initiatives for product development.

Este entrenamiento ofrece al participante una actualizacion sobre las tendencias y buenas practicas de produccion y procesamiento de carnes para maximar la calidad, inocuidad y rendimientos. El participante se familiarizara con nuevas technologias, equipos e ingredients para desarrollo de productos de valor agregado con practicas “hands on” y demostraciones de planta. Addicionalmente, se preparara al participante par tener conocimientos criterios y bases para resolver problemas, optimizer procesos en la produccion y procesamiente y liderar iniciativas de desarollo de nuevos productors.

*Please note this event is entirely in Spanish

Click here for more information!

Click here to register online!

2017 PSA Annual Meeting

July 17-20 | Orlando, Florida

The 2017 PSA Annual Meeting will present symposia of current interest to the international poultry industry and poultry science community.

Click here for more information!

7th Annual Symposium: Current Issues and Advances in Food Animal Wellbeing

August 3, 2017 | University of Arkansas | Fayetteville, Ark.

*Registration will be available soon

Click here for more information or to register!


Pig Welfare Symposium

November 7-9, 2017 | Des Moines, IA

The objectives of the symposium are to improve the well-being of pigs by disseminating recent research findings and recommendations, raising awareness of current and emerging issues and identifying potential solutions. To accomplish this, the symposium provides a forum for sharing ideas, learning from other segments of the industry and fostering dialogue on pig welfare related issues.

Click here for more information or to register!


**These links are not all inclusive, but all posted links have been approved for continuing education credit.**

**If you would like to know if an event, conference or training qualifies for CE, please contact Collette at**

Job Listings

POSTED on June 23rd, 2017

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