The AAWCS is an independently audited certification program used by Australian livestock processors to demonstrate compliance with the industry best practice animal welfare standards titled the ‘Industry Animal Welfare Standards for Livestock Processing Establishments Preparing Meat for Human Consumption’.
The AAWCS covers all animal welfare activities at a participating livestock processing establishment - from receival of livestock at the establishment to the point of humane processing.
Livestock processing establishments who choose to participate in the AAWCS choose to comply with the requirements of the following core elements of the system:
1. 'Industry Animal Welfare Standards for Livestock processing Establishments Preparing Meat for Human Consumption' (The Standards), administered through the AMIC/AMPC Animal Welfare Standards Review Committee; and
2. 'AUS-MEAT Animal Welfare (AW) Certification Program Rules for Livestock Processing Establishments' (The Rules), administered by the Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee through AUS-MEAT Limited.
Participating livestock processors commit to The Rules, which requires them to implement The Standards within their documented Quality Management System. The system is overseen by a member of management to make sure best practice animal welfare is maintained at all times.
To maintain certification, participating livestock processors must also be subject to an annual audit by an approved auditor. Auditors under the AAWCS are approved by AUS-MEAT Limited and are required to meet specific animal welfare and auditing competency criteria, which ensures a consistent approach to animal welfare auditing and integrity in the certification process.
The AAWCS helps Australian processing establishments demonstrate to their customers, and the general community, their superior commitment to best practice animal welfare. Processors who are certified also have exclusive rights to use the AAWCS Trademark to promote their certification status to their customers.
The AAWCS was launched at the AMIC Conference on 19 September 2013.
The AAWCS is an initiative of the AMIC, with support from the Australian Meat Processor Corporation (AMPC) and AUS-MEAT Limited. AUS-MEAT is the Australian meat and livestock industry’s standards management and certification body. AUS-MEAT manages the certification program, via the Australian Meat Industry Language and Standards Committee, on behalf of the Industry.