Aviagen Hosts Virtual Poultry Welfare Certification Training


First internal Professional Animal Auditor Certification takes place online, giving
employees the chance to broaden understanding of bird welfare during COVID-19

On Sept. 9 and 10, global poultry breeding company Aviagen offered its very first virtual in-house training to give employees the opportunity to become certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). The training emphasized the importance of good housing and environmental conditions, properly balanced diets, quality water and strong veterinary health programs, as well as the fundamentals of auditing. The session
was kicked off with a corporate overview from Aviagen Vice President of Veterinary Services Dr. Eric Jensen, as well as a discussion on Aviagen’s commitment to
welfare and its customers by Aviagen North America President Marc de Beer. A
highlight of the online event was a guest appearance by renowned welfare
consultant Temple Grandin, who shared her insight on the importance of the humane
treatment of animals.

Road to PAACO welfare certification

Following the training, a diverse group of over 65 professionals, including
veterinarians, hatchery, production and quality assurance, are now on their path to
PAACO welfare certification. Before becoming fully certified, participants will undergo
a period of shadowing currently certified auditors on a variety of audits. Based on
proof of the audits and feedback from the veteran auditors, they will be up for full

“Upon achieving certification, these individuals will be able to conduct audits of our
internal farms and hatcheries,” explained Sara Reichelt, Aviagen’s Grandparent
Veterinarian and Assistant Animal Welfare Coordinator for North America.
According to Reichelt, apart from official biennial external audits, all Aviagen
operations must pass routine internal audits. “We care about our birds, and auditing
allows us to ensure compliance to our robust programs, which include the highest
welfare standards. Aviagen employees are committed to continuous improvement,
and having additional PAACO-certified staff will help us further strengthen our
excellent welfare program,” added Reichelt. “The goal of this training is to help
Aviagen employees become more comfortable with the what and why of animal
welfare, while also achieving a certified auditor status. It is not only important for our
teammates to practice good animal welfare, but also to understand it. This training
will include presentations from welfare professionals from different fields, interactive
welfare scenarios and virtual audits to reinforce what they’ve learned by putting it
into practice.”