If you are concerned about animal welfare, you may have seen the term “third-party audit.” What is a third-party audit, exactly, and why does it matter? Read on to find out!
What is a third-party audit?
Third-party audits are an important tool for ensuring that animal welfare standards are being met at farms that want an animal welfare certification. These audits are conducted by independent organizations, completely unaffiliated with the farm or producer being audited. Having no affiliation with the farm ensures an objective assessment of whether or not the farm is meeting specific animal welfare standards. These standards might be set by the auditing organization, industry groups, or by another regulatory body.
There are several third-party organizations that conduct these animal welfare audits. The Global Animal Partnership, the American Humane Association, and the Animal Welfare Approved program are just a few examples of these organizations. While each group may have a different approach or standards for their audits, they share the same goal of improving the welfare of animals.
The process may differ depending on the organization conducting the audit, but typically it involves a thorough review of the farm’s animal welfare practices. Part of this review may include on-site inspections, interviews with staff and management, and a review of documentation and records kept by the farm. The auditor’s job is to find evidence that the farm is meeting the set standards, and will give recommendations of improvements if needed.
Benefits of Third-Party Audits
There are plenty of benefits to being audited by a third party. For us at Pederson’s, animal welfare takes high priority, and having a third-party audit gives us the assurance that we are meeting the standards we’ve set for ourselves, as well as the industry standards. Audits help to identify areas for improvement and give the guidance for making those improvements.
For consumers, third-party audits can provide reassurance that the products they are purchasing were raised in a humane and responsible way. They can know that animal welfare is being taken seriously by the ones being audited and by the auditors as well.