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 plan to bring and continue 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 in early 2014.