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Feedlot Auditor - It's coming whether you want it or not

Monday, July 11, 2016

Feedlot Auditor – It’s coming whether you want it or not

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

Starting this spring, the National Cattle Feeders Association is unveiling the culmination of its last few years of work to present a brand new, voluntary audit tool that allows feedlot operators the ability to prove they are maintaining their beef cattle according to safe and humane standards.

The Canadian Feedlot Animal Care Assessment Program is a proactive tool designed to beat the inevitable auditing by packers and retailers at feedlots. The program, the first animal audit system certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO), is not intended to add additional burden to feedlot operators but primarily to support the systems already in place. The biggest challenge for the smaller operations is likely going to be better documentation. However, the Association will be creating generic templates that are quick to fill out and only need to be completed once.

Animal welfare practices are under more and more scrutiny by consumers and it will ultimately be up to the feedlots to prove they are abiding by the requirements set out by accredited organizations such as PAACO.

The program is designed to be realistic, practical and easily implementable. It will focus on the feedlot’s transportation practices, feedlot facilities, cattle handling, nutrition and feeding, environment, animal health management, euthanasia and salvage, care of other working feedlot animals, egregious acts of neglect and willful acts of abuse.

The audit checklist provides a very structured way for a feedlot owner to measure whether they are doing what they think they are doing, and welfare costs producers money. It is expected that this program will help producers manage and measure their processes more effectively.

Aware of the need to walk before they run, the National Cattle Feeders Association is aiming to provide both communication and training tools to producers to ensure they are fully trained and comfortable using the audit tool. Implementing these systems do not ensure an auditor will show up on your doorstep tomorrow, but it will ensure that when they eventually do, they will be looking at the same requirements no matter who is auditing, recognized by multiple packers and retailers.

Embracing these changes will ensure you are on-side when they inevitably become mandatory.

Program documents and supporting materials are available through NCFA’s password protected website. For access, contact your provincial cattle feeder association of NFCA at 403-769-1519 /

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