Redfield, Iowa -- The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide 2010 Edition have been granted accredited program status by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO). Karen Christensen, PAACO vice chairman, made the recognition official on March 25 during AMI’s annual Animal Care and Handling Conference in Kansas City.

The Guidelines were written by Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University, with AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee.

Earning the PAACO-Accredited distinction signifies that the AMI program has met all of PAACO’s minimum standards from start to finish – auditing, training and auditors. It is the second such program to achieve PAACO-accredited status; Validus Services’ Animal Welfare Review Program for dairy producers gained the designation in April 2008.

PAACO and AMI have a long-standing cooperative relationship in the animal welfare auditing arena. Since its initial meat plant welfare auditor training in 2006, PAACO has used AMI’s guidelines for the basis of its meat plant welfare auditor training and certification. To earn accredited status, the AMI program was reviewed by an independent panel comprised of animal welfare and meat industry experts who evaluated the meat plant welfare audit and found that it met or exceeded all of PAACO’s minimum standards for an audit, training of auditors and auditor education and experience.

According to PAACO chairman Dave Hermes, DVM, validation of animal well-being programs such as AMI’s for the cattle, swine and lamb slaughter process can have a significant business impact on an operation. “Because of increasing consumer interest in assuring their food is produced in humane and safe systems, audit programs provide expert validation of welfare practices – in this case at the plant level,” Hermes said. “There is an increasing need for quality audits implemented by trained, knowledgeable, independent auditors who can fairly and accurately assess welfare practices.” He further points out that “third-party certification provides the customer with information that can be documented, is transparent and shows continual improvement.”

“Our industry is committed to having the highest standards for humane and ethical treatment of animals because it is the right thing to do,” said Glee Goodner, chairman of AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee and corporate manager of animal welfare and handling at Hormel Foods. “Review of the AMI guidelines and audit guide by PACCO, an independent third-party organization, is important because it determines if they cover appropriate welfare criteria and if good, rigorous industry standards are met by the audits.”
To download AMI’s guidelines, go to and click on “Guidelines/Auditing.”

PAACO is an organization of five animal industry organizations with extensive expertise on best management practices and current science in animal agriculture. The organization’s purpose is to promote the humane treatment of animals through education and certification of animal audits, training and auditors. Founding and current organizations that comprise PAACO are the Federation of Animal Science Societies, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Association of Bovine Practitioners and American Association of Avian Pathologists. PAACO’s website is