The Poultry Handling and Transportation Quality Assurance Program, a new program at The Pennsylvania State University, will be the first in the U.S. to provide third-party training, proficiency testing and certification on the correct techniques for handling and transporting poultry, according to The Poultry Science Association.

Scheduled to launch in late spring, the PHTQA will offer multiple one-day training sessions to transportation and catch crews on biosecurity, disease recognition, emergency planning and the safe and humane handling of birds. With the exception of ducks, the PHTQA will cover every segment of the poultry industry, including day-old poultry, pullets, spent fowl, broilers, leghorn and broiler breeders and turkeys. 


PHTQA training will initially focus on companies in the Northeast, though depending on interest it may eventually serve as the foundation for a national program, said Dr. Eva Wallner-Pendleton, PHTQA’s senior editor and project coordinator and an avian pathologist and field investigator at Penn State’s Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. “While we have yet to conduct our first training session, we have already received a tremendous response – including international inquiries – from the program website," said Wallner-Pendleton. "There’s increasing pressure from the general public and others, both here and abroad, to ensure that animals are being handled humanely. While many companies have excellent in-house training on animal welfare and poultry quality assurance, this pressure has generated the need – and the desire among many poultry companies – for third-party certification. This program is designed to meet that demand." 

Training sessions will be conducted by members of the PHTQA development team and will take place at the individual companies where bird handlers and transporters are located. At a later point, plans are to hold “train the trainer” sessions so that more individuals are qualified to conduct training.