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Published on Monday, December 1, 2014

Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO)

In 2004 ARPAS was one of the founding professional animal industry organizations that formed a coalition to start PAACO. PAACO has become increasingly important to professional animal scientists, so the purpose of this article is to provide ARPAS members with an introduction to PAACO. Future newsletters will contain regular updates about PAACO. 

The five professional animal industry organizations that are the coalition are
• American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists,
• American Association of Avian Pathologists,
• American Association of Bovine Practitioners,
• American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and
• Federation of Animal Science Societies,

The current ARPAS representatives on the PAACO board are Terry Mader (chairperson of PAACO, Mader Consulting LLC), Ted Friend (Texas A&M), and Frank Owsley (Auburn University).

The mission of PAACO is to promote the humane treatment of animals through education and certification of animal auditors, as well as the review and certification of animal-audit instruments, assessments, and programs.

Certified Audit Instruments
• PAACO maintains a list of 12 core minimum requirements for audit-instrument certification. Those criteria are reviewed regularly at board meetings.
• Currently, there are seven species audits that have certified status—American Meat Institute Meat Plant Welfare, Validus Dairy Production, FACTA Swine Production, Common Swine Industry Audit, Perdue Foods Broiler Production, FACTA Broiler Production, and FACTA Turkey Production.
• To maintain certification status, all audit instruments undergo annual reviews for recertification.

Auditor Training
• In first the six months of 2014, four Meat Plant trainings were held (one in Canada) with a total of 72 trainees.
• In last half of 2014, both a Poultry auditor training (August) and a Meat Plant training (October) were held.
• The Poultry training class has had high demand, and we expanded the training from the typical 60 to 85 trainees and filled the class.
• Requests for other species and additional courses are coming in and will continue to be considered.
• Development and implementation of a Brazilian-based program for auditor training for cattle, swine, and broiler slaughter began last year. A successful cattle-slaughter training was held in January, and a broiler training was held in September. Discussions and potential implementation of an Australian Meat Plant course also have been initiated. 

Certified Auditors
• Auditors must maintain their certification status through 12 annual contact hours of continuing education and pay a $150 fee.
• As facilities allow, certified auditors are allowed to attend the lecture portion of the trainings for continuing education credit.
• Currently, there are four categories of certified PAACO auditors or verifiers:
• Meat Plant—236 auditors,
• Poultry (layer, broiler, and turkey)—341 auditors,
• Dairy—6 auditors, and
• PQA+—14 verifiers.

Other Stakeholder Relations
• PAACO has in place an advisory council that is a financial supporter of our mission of quality audits and auditing. The council consists of National Pork Producers Council, US Poultry and Egg Council, and McDonalds Corporation.
• Poultry suppliers and allied industry companies have supported the annual poultry trainings through sponsorships. This year a record 20 companies are helping sponsor the training.
• Numerous major poultry companies and cattle and swine slaughter facilities continue to cooperate in the trainings by providing instructors and facility access at no cost.
• In 2014 regular contact was maintained with numerous retail and foodservice companies that use PAACO resources for training and welfare information. 

Leadership and Administration
• PAACO is governed by a 15-member board made up of appointees from the five founding-member organizations.
Chairman: Terry Mader (ARPAS)
Vice Chairman: Jennifer Walker (AABP)
Secretary: David Pyle (AAAP)
Treasurer: Matt Anderson (AASV)
Executive Director: Mike Simpson
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