Ten years after its founding by five professional animal industry organizations, the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization Inc. (PAACO) is beginning a strategic planning process to assess its current and future mission and service to industry stakeholders. The organization is also in the process of seeking a new executive director to replace Mike Simpson, PAACO’s executive director since 2005, who will retire at the end of 2015.

The 15-member board of directors will meet to discuss where PAACO fits into the changing environment of animal welfare and to lay out the organization’s vision for the future as it prepares for a change in executive leadership.

In compiling a job description for Simpson’s replacement, the directors agreed that the time was right to spell out exactly where the organization wants to head in the future and plan for how to get there including staffing.

PAACO’s mission is to promote the humane treatment of animals through education and certification of animal auditors, as well as the review and/or certification of animal audit instruments, assessments and programs. Since its inception in 2004, it has become known as “the standard of excellence in animal welfare auditing” and registrations in its animal welfare auditor training courses are regularly filled long before the posted deadlines.  Trainings are currently held in both the United States and Canada and also through a partnership arrangement, with a firm in Brazil that trains cattle and broiler slaughter welfare auditors to PAACO standards.  


In addition, PAACO reviews and certifies audits that meet board-established minimum standards and accredits programs that meet or exceed the organization’s standards for audit instruments. This service has seen increased demand in recent years with seven audits currently certified and 3 others in progress as this third party peer review has been seen by stakeholders to add value to the audit instrument.

"This timing of addressing PAACO's role in the future and Mike giving us good advance notice of his career plans, provides us opportunity to systematically look at our organization on how we serve stakeholders in the future and the type of staffing qualifications we should be looking for," said Terry Mader, PhD, PAACO chairman of the board.

The board hopes to fill the executive director position by late summer/early fall, so that Simpson can work with his successor for a smooth transition.