PAACO newsletters, press releases, white papers, & other publications


Click on link(s) below to view the PAACO newsletter.

Spring 2014 NewsletterSpring 2014 Newsletter

Fall 2013 Newsletter

Winter 2013 Newsletter

Fall 2012 Newsletter

Spring 2012 Newsletter



March 10, 2014


            The spring version of the extremely popular Meat Plant Welfare Auditor Training/Certification Course sponsored by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO) will be held May 13-14 in Fremont and Grand Island, Nebraska.

            Registrations are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis  and potential participants are encouraged to apply well ahead of the April 10 deadline to ensure themselves a spot as class size is limited.  This is one of only two meat plant auditor courses PAACO will offer in the United States this year, with the other slated for October 14-15 in Denison, Iowa.

            The list of course instructors boasts an impressive group of industry professionals, including Dr. Lily Edwards-Callaway, animal welfare specialist for JBS Swift; Dr. Temple Grandin, president of Grandin Livestock Handling Systems; Dr. Mike Siemens, leader of animal welfare and husbandry at Cargill; and Dr. Amanda Tank, corporate manager of animal welfare and handling for Hormel Foods.

            The first step in becoming a PAACO-certified auditor, the course features both classroom and hands-on instruction, with the latter being conducted at Hormel Foods swine plant in Fremont, NE, and the JBS Swift cattle plant in Grand Island.

            Registration fee is $795 and includes the 2-day course, materials and two lunches.  Complete information and a registration form can be found on the organization’s website,


February 28, 2014

NEW PAACO CHAIR                                                       

Terry Mader, PhD, of Gretna, Nebraska, was elected chairman of the board of directors of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) at the group’s annual meeting in Dallas in December.  Currently owner of Mader Consulting, LLC, he is a retired professor and Extension beef cattle specialist at the University of Nebraska. Vice chair the past two years, Mader succeeds Karen Christensen, PhD, of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

Named vice chairman was Jennifer Walker, DVM, PhD, director of dairy stewardship at Dean Foods, Dallas, Texas.  Rounding out the officer team are Secretary David Pyle, DVM, a poultry consultant from Zeeland, Michigan, and Treasurer Matt Anderson, Suidae Animal Health & Production, Algona, Iowa.  The organization’s executive director is Mike Simpson.

Two new directors have been appointed to PAACO by their respective member organizations:

Dave Sjeklocha, DVM, operations manager of animal health and welfare, Cattle Empire, LLC, Satanta, Kansas, American Association of Bovine Practitioners; and John McGlone, PhD, PAS, ACAWS, professor and institutional official, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, Federation of Animal Science Societies.


September 30, 2013


            Since initiating its certified animal auditor training in 2006, the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO) has welcomed attendees from around the world to its U.S. courses.  Over the years, the organization has also held meat plant and poultry trainings in Canada, serving that country’s needs with U.S. trainers.

            Recently, however, the demand for welfare training of plant personnel and third party auditors has become more important in South and Latin America.  To that end, PAACO has entered into a relationship with Brazilian-based World Quality Services (WQS) to carry out training services on PAACO’s behalf in Brazil.

            WQS will take the PAACO curriculum and training model, translate them into Portuguese and adapt them to the uniqueness of Brazil’s market.  Three auditor trainings will be offered there – cattle slaughter, swine slaughter and broiler slaughter.  Trainees will be required to complete the same process as those in the U.S. in order to become PAACO-certified auditors – attend the lecture and demonstration portions of the training, pass a test and satisfactorily complete three shadow audits.

            To ensure consistency with the PAACO program, WQS sent trainers to the United States this spring to go through the PAACO meat plant and poultry welfare auditor trainings. The four individuals have since completed all phases and become PAACO certified auditors in one or more of the categories to be covered in Brazil.  In addition, a Brazilian graduate student majoring in welfare management at Purdue University attended the same courses and will be utilized by PAACO for assuring the U.S. -based Brazilian instruction materials follow the PAACO model.

            “The impetus for establishing this partnership is two-fold,” explains PAACO Chairman Karen Christensen.  “First, international customer-type companies identified this need and are  seeking these services; and in the international trade arena, requirements are surfacing that in order to do business, ‘welfare officers’ – people  at supplier sites that are trained in welfare criteria – will be mandatory.”

            Founded in 1993 and located in the city of  Botucatu, State of Sao Paulo, WQS develops certification and inspection services throughout the food chain.  It develops specific protocols for farms, industry and retail in order to ensure the productivity process and production process are in accordance with international standards.  As an international company that recognizes PAACO’s expertise and reputation, joining forces to expand welfare auditing internationally was a logical step.

            “We are excited to be able to enter into a relationship with an organization of PAACO’s stature,” says WQS CEO Valmir Rodrigues. “In the United States, they have become, as their motto says, ‘the standard of excellence in animal welfare auditing’ and we hope to bring those high standards to Brazil and South America.”

            PAACO Executive Director Mike Simpson echoes those sentiments, noting that the impact on his association will be significant as well.  He says, “This is a major step for PAACO and one that we will work to make successful for advancing welfare worldwide with a U.S. basis for welfare criteria and standards adapted to local needs.  It is hoped that these international customer-type businesses will benefit and utilize this expansion of PAACO’s expertise.”

            The first PAACO-based Brazilian trainings are projected to be held by early 2014.



September 24, 2013


            The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO) has granted Certified Audit status to two swine production audit tools within the past month. The two audits that were reviewed by a PAACO-appointed panel and certified as having met the organization’s 11 minimum criteria are the National Pork Board’s (NPB) Pork Quality Assurance Plus® Swine Well-Being Verification Guide V2.0 and FACTA LLC’s Humane Certified ™ Animal Welfare Audit Program – Pork.

            Certifying audit instruments is one of the services offered by PAACO, whose auditor trainings for meat plants and poultry have become an industry standard.  While audit tools for dairy production and meat plant welfare for cattle, swine and lamb have previously attained certified status, the NPB and FACTA audits are the first to be certified for swine production.

            In order to become PAACO-certified, the program must be submitted for a third-party review by a panel of animal welfare experts appointed by PAACO and overseen by a PAACO representative. This group initially critiques the audit for improvements and primarily evaluates it to determine if the audit meets all 11 minimum criteria established by the PAACO board of directors for a certifiable audit instrument. These criteria apply to all meat animal species.  The panel that reviewed the NPB and FACTA audits was comprised of Doctors Don Levis, retired University of Nebraska swine specialist; Alex Ramirez, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Howard Hill, retired CEO of Iowa Select Farms.  Dr. Frank Owsley, Auburn University, served as the board liaison.  PAACO’s board of directors makes the final determination to grant certification status.  All certified audits must be reviewed annually to maintain certification status.

            “It seems that right now there is a lot of interest in a quality audit tool,” says PAACO Chairman Karen Christensen.  “Other species and organizations have been asking about this service in an increasing number, and we are pleased to be able to contribute in this independent way to the advancement of quality animal welfare auditing.”

            Information on other species with certified audits and programs, as well as the 11 core criteria, may be found on the “PAACO Accredited and Certified Programs” page on the PAACO website,