The New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program (NYSCHAP) animal welfare review program for dairy producers is the second of its kind to be granted certified program status by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, Inc. (PAACO).
Earning the PAACO-certified distinction signifies that the New York dairy program has met or exceeded all of PAACO’s minimum standards from start to finish as a rigorous, comprehensive audit program and instrument.
The initial step in the process was submission of the program materials and audit for third-party peer review. An independent panel of dairy welfare professionals made up of veterinarians and dairy scientists with welfare backgrounds reviewed the materials against 12 minimum standards that PAACO’s board of directors has established.
“More and more, we see in the animal industry a call to validate husbandry practices related to welfare through credible audit instruments, professional training and qualified auditors that our organization supports,” says PAACO Chairman David Hermes, DVM. “We are confident that the people responsible for the care of livestock and poultry do a fine job, but consumers are seeking some independent assurance that their food products come from a humane process.”
The NYSCHAP Cattle Welfare Certification module was developed by experts in veterinary medicine and animal husbandry and is exceptional among similar programs in its comprehensive review of participant farms' facilities, programs of animal care and actual animal well-being. All criteria for evaluation are firmly grounded in current scientific literature. Producers who choose to participate in NYCHAP’s animal welfare module must be dedicated to meeting the requirements of the program, including training for any farm employees who work with cattle. Field veterinarian Melanie Hemenway, DVM, serves as the NYSCHAP program coordinator and believes PAACO brings additional recognition to the NYSCHAP program and the high standards it promotes. NYSCHAP’s website is http://nyschap.vet.cornell.edu
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 auditors as well as the review and/or certification of animal audit instruments, assessments and programs. 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 www.animalauditor.org