On July 24, the board of directors of the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization Inc. met in St. Louis for its inaugural gathering. Officially formed in mid-July, PAACO exists to "promote the humane treatment of animals through education and certification of animal auditors and to promote the profession of animal auditors."
Four organizations formed PAACO—the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and Federation of Animal Science Societies.
Although it has not been determined who will be able to seek certification, preliminary discussions indicate it will not be limited to veterinarians and animal scientists. Certification is primarily for on-farm auditors, but PAACO may also provide certification to individuals at meatpacking plants.
The following officers were named: Drs Angela Baysinger, Farmland Foods, chair; William Seymour, DSM Nutritional Products Inc., vice chair; James Reynolds, University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, secretary; and Tom Troxel, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, treasurer.
Dr. Baysinger offered her vision on the future of the organization. She noted that PAACO is the first certification organization for auditing within animal agriculture. As an umbrella organization, she said it will act to assure the quality of animal auditing by species-specific certified individuals. The area of highest priority is animal welfare.
At the meeting, PAACO appointed Dr. John Deen, University of Minnesota, as chair of the Standards and Qualifications Committee. Dr. Deen brings to the committee his experience from serving on the AASV and National Pork Board swine welfare committees. The board also appointed Dr. Darcie Stolz, Strasburg, Pa., to the committee.
The Finance Committee was also formed during the inaugural meeting, and Dr. Troxel was appointed chair.
Future PAACO initiatives include release of standards and qualifications documentation, educational outreach and training based on such standards, and ultimately, certification of qualified auditors.
Operational support for PAACO is currently being handled through FASS headquarters in Savoy, Ill. Questions can be directed to (217) 356-2426, Ext. 26, or paacoassochq [dot] org (paaco[at]assochq[dot]org).