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PIC Update – January 2013

Canada’s First Poultry Welfare Auditor Course

December 14, 2012
By Dayna Sills Poultry Welfare Manager and Interim Research Manager

The Poultry Industry Council, along with the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, introduced the first Canadian Poultry Welfare Auditor Course in Mississauga, Ont., in September 2012.

PIC and PAACO focused on husbandry, management and how to audit.

Animal welfare is an issue gaining more attention each year and a great number of research projects are being conducted to determine how we can improve the lives of poultry during the time spent in the barn and during transportation.

Consumer awareness is also influencing the way restaurants and stores do business and how consumers view their internal animal welfare policies. As well, animal welfare auditors are needed to conduct audits for companies to ensure that the standard of welfare at production facilities meets their requirements.

In September 2012, the Poultry Industry Council, along with the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO), organized Canada’s first Poultry Welfare Auditor Course held in Mississauga, Ont. The course was modified from the U.S. course to reflect for the difference in the Canadian poultry industry structure. The class was sold out shortly after registration opened and there is currently a waiting list for the next course. These trainees were primarily from Ontario, but about 25 per cent were from Western Canada and one person was from Quebec. There is a great need to have more people become certified poultry welfare auditors and this three-day Canadian course will help open the doors to get this movement going.

The first classroom day was focused on poultry husbandry and management related to welfare criteria in audits and audit protocols and ethics. These topics were taught by knowledgeable people in the Canadian poultry industry (Al Dam, OMAFRA; Dr. Stephanie Torrey, AAFC; Ed Malek, CFIA; Greg Morrison, TFO; Pam Kuipers, EFO; Stan Gough, Aviagen; Carl Stevenson, CFO; Brian Herman, Brian’s Poultry Services; Cheryl Firby, Maple Leaf Foods; Dr. Mike Petrik, McKinley Hatchery; and George Jeffrey, Vétoquinol). The final session, which focused on audit protocols and ethics, was given by Dr. Karen Christensen (O.K. Farms, Ark.), PAACO chairman.

The second day of the course taught trainees how to audit welfare criteria at a hatchery, farm and processing plant at the broiler breeders, broilers, layers and turkey levels. The second day ended with a group discussion between instructors and trainees, of the many different possible scenarios that an auditor may encounter, what the appropriate response should be and how to work through the scenarios. The instructors for the second day were very qualified and knowledgeable people from the United States, and included Dr. Karen Christensen, who covered broilers and broiler breeders, Matt Jones, Validus Services, Iowa, on layers, and finally Dr. Don McIntyre, Diamond V Mills, S.C., who addressed the turkey side. They all took the time to explain each concept and thoroughly answer questions.

On the third day, trainees were in the field to put into practice what they had learned and go through audit demonstrations at broiler, layer and turkey facilities. This day concluded with a written test based on the classroom teachings.

The trainees must now complete two shadow audits (with a PAACO-certified poultry auditor), which are a very valuable learning tool and mandatory extension of the course to become certified. The audits allow trainees the chance to apply what they’ve learned in the course and gain confidence in conducting their own audits. Once this last step is finished, the trainees will become officially endorsed as “PAACO-certified Poultry Welfare Auditors.”

We’ve received much positive feedback from both trainees and instructors, and another poultry welfare auditor course is planned for 2013. This first Canadian course was very successful, and we are on the way to filling the need for poultry welfare auditors.

The Poultry Industry Council would like to thank all the people involved in putting this course together, especially the sponsors (New Life Mills, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Hybrid Turkeys, Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission, Sobeys, Tim Hortons, Turkey Farmers of Ontario, University of Guelph – Department of Pathobiology) and the companies and farmers for providing audit demonstration facilities (Cargill Meats, Cold Springs Farm, Maple Leaf Foods, P&H Foods, Jim Holden (turkey farmer), Brian Lewis (chicken farmer) and Dan Veldman (egg farmer)). We appreciate all your expertise and help; the course wouldn’t have been as much of a success without your assistance and sponsorship.

A full list of participants in the Canadian PAACO Poultry Welfare Auditor Course can be found here: