Auditors and Certification Bodies

Certification bodies coordinate the independent inspections carried out on the participating farms. As such, these bodies and their employees are an important link between the sponsoring company of the Animal Welfare Initiative and the farms and agricultural businesses that participate in the Initiative. They manage part of the inspection and train the auditors, who verify and assess whether the criteria have been implemented in accordance with regulations. You can find an overview of all the participating certification bodies in the download section. You can also find more information in the QS partner area for certification bodies and auditors.

An insight into the inspection of the animal welfare criteria

Each participant is inspected at least twice a year. There are different types of audits, or inspections, carried out on the farm. With one of the audits, the extremely comprehensive programme audit, the farm is only informed a maximum of 24 hours in advance. During this audit, all documentation is checked. There is also a second annual audit, the stock check. The stock check is carried out without any prior notice being giving to the farm and only the shed criteria is inspected. In addition, the farmers must also have their shed climate and drinking water inspected by external experts once a year. The farm can only continue to participate in the Animal Welfare Initiative if they pass these inspections. If they have not properly implemented the animal welfare guidelines they must leave the Animal Welfare Initiative and repay any animal welfare payments that they have received until that point. If a livestock owner is suspected of not implementing the measures correctly, additional special purpose audits are carried out.

All certification bodies involved in the Animal Welfare Initiative are approved after being inspected by the sponsoring company. For the approval, the certification body and the sponsoring company sign a framework agreement on Neutral Control Activities in the Animal Welfare Initiative. The approval requirements for certification bodies are defined in the inspection system which is available here. 

Auditors are approved directly by the sponsoring company after passing a corresponding inspection. However, registrations can only be done through certification bodies that have already been approved by the Initiative. The approval requirements and registration forms  are available here under Information for Certification Bodies and Auditors.

If you have any questions about certifications and auditors, please contact:

Julia Rohleder
+49 (0) 228 35068-291
+49 (0) 228 35068-16291