The global COVID-19 pandemic caused the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) to redesign its entire training schedule and transition to virtual delivery in 2020. Because demand for certification and animal welfare training continued, PAACO trained more than 500 attendees in 2020, many of whom will now seek certification.

PAACO will consider a return to in-person training in the second half of 2021 but found many advantages to training using the new virtual format. “We learned that providing virtual training allows many more people around the globe to access PAACO Welfare Auditor Training,” observed PAACO Executive Director Collette Kaster. Interest in animal welfare improvement and oversight continues to grow, and the expanded audience has led PAACO to offer virtual and/or hybrid training to their upcoming schedule to meet the additional demand.

PAACO trains welfare auditors for the swine, dairy, poultry, beef cattle, feedlot, and meat packing industries, increasingly on a global basis. As an example, meat plant welfare auditor training will be offered with a fully translated Spanish version in May.

PAACO 2021 Training Schedule (some dates TBD)

Dairy Welfare Auditor Training (April 26-29) -- Virtual

Meat Plant Welfare Auditor Training with Spanish Language Translation (May 18-20) -- Virtual

Beef Feedlot Welfare Auditor Training (June) – Kansas; (September) -- Nebraska/Iowa

Poultry Welfare Auditor Training (July 13-15) -- Virtual

On-Farm Swine Welfare Auditor Training (August/September) -- South Dakota/Virtual

Meat Plant Welfare Auditor Training (October) -- Nebraska/Virtual

PAACO’s mission is to promote animal welfare through auditor training and audit certification. Certification of industry audits continues at a strong pace with the certification of two new audits: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) U.S. Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit and Peco Foods broiler audit. Kaster remarked, “Several more audits are in the certification process and many of those that were initially certified are undergoing their five-year reviews.” PAACO has now certified 14 audits in a variety of industry sectors.

Introducing Quarterly Webinars
Beginning in 2021, as part of their Continuing Education (CE) program, PAACO will offer webinars at no cost to all certified auditors. The original webinar will be delivered live, then the recorded event will be available on demand on the PAACO website. Viewing the webinar will count toward at least one hour of CE. The first of these webinars was held on February 11 with Dr. Temple Grandin and four of her former students who have carried on her legacy through their work in animal welfare, providing their thoughts on her influence on them and the livestock community. This recording is available at Upcoming live webinars begin at 12:00 pm CST on the following dates:

April 13 – What’s New with Audit Tools? Industry representatives will present updates to the 2021 version of their audit tools.

July 20 – Understanding Enrichments As audits and production guidelines evolve, we see the requirement for enrichment added across species. Presenters will provide a quick look at what the benefits of enrichments are, common enrichments for each species, and how to audit the provisions of enrichments.

October 26 – What’s New in the World of Livestock Transportation? An overview of what is new with animal transportation welfare considerations including the latest research, new technology, and regulatory requirements.

More information on each training event can be found online at