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Troubleshoot animal welfare issues  by providing expert advice on current technologies/equipment with respect to humane handling, euthanasia and stunning of animals.

Development of animal welfare related policy and procedures.


Develop and deliver training on animal welfare and behaviour and animal welfare assessment to a wide variety of stakeholders including veterinarians, producers, animal welfare organizations and retailers, meat inspectors and slaughter plant staff.

Offering professioanl audits on farm, at slaughter,at livestock auctions and during transport.

Hands on audits ready your facilities for government inspections/ third party.





  • Over 35 years of experience developing animal welfare policy and delivering animal welfare programs and auditing animal welfare across the value chain including on-farm, during transport, at livestock auctions, slaughter plants, research facilities and dog pounds. 

  • Managing large scale projects including a 2 million dollar animal welfare program collaboration with the Livestock and Poultry Industry in Ontario.

  • A current member of the Dairy Farmers of Canada Animal Care Technical Committee and the Canadian Pork Council’s Technical Committee developing on-farm animal care programs and recently developed and delivered practical animal welfare assessment training.

  • Certified PAACO auditor (red meat and poultry) and trainer and developed and delivered the first Canadian PAACO red meat training (2008) and routinely audit farms, slaughter plants.   



  • As Special Faculty at the University of Guelph, have developed and currently teach a graduate level course in practical assessment of animal welfare as well as acting as an advisor to graduate students at the Masters and PhD levels.

  • Regularly develop and deliver training on animal welfare and behaviour and animal welfare assessment to a wide variety of stakeholders including veterinarians, producers, animal welfare organizations and retailers, meat inspectors and slaughter plant staff in Ontario and across Canada.

  • Member of the Code of Practice Development committee for the Pig Code, the Meat Bird and Layer Codes as well as publishing a wide range of animal and behaviour welfare articles, training manuals, peer reviewed papers and other materials (print and electronic) for producers, veterinarians, cruelty investigators, transporters, meat inspectors, slaughter plant staff and the general public.



  • Master of Science in Farm Animal Welfare and Behaviour from the University of Guelph (2003).

  • Bachelor of Arts - Social Sciences from the University of Western Ontario (1999).

  • Veterinary Technician Centralia College of Agricultural Technology (1982).



  • PACCO Auditor – red meat and poultry;

  • Cow Signals Master Trainer;

  • Dairy FARM evaluator;

  • Bristol University Animal Welfare Officer;



August 2016 – present – Professional Livestock Auditing Inc.



  • Lead auditor and program developer;

  • Performed over 200 dairy farm audits in Canada and United States;

  • Conducted phone surveys and analysed results for various clients covering animal welfare, sustainability, environmental issues and other emerging areas;

  • Regularly conduct audits for clients as required (animal welfare, food safety, traceability);

  • Prepare clients for second and third party audits;

  • Consult on the development of auditing programs for dairy, goats, swine, mink and poultry and poultry handling;

  • Develop and deliver training on animal welfare assessment, euthanasia, animal behaviour and animal handling and humane slaughter;

  • Coordinator of the Canadian Livestock Transport (CLT) program.


November 2006 – June 2016:  Humane Standards Officer, OMAFRA



  • Regularly audit animal welfare on farm, at slaughter, at livestock auctions and during transport to evaluate compliance with applicable legislation as well as industry standards.

  • Troubleshoot animal welfare issues from field staff by providing expert advice on current technologies/equipment with respect to humane handling, euthanasia and stunning of animals to effectively deal with animal welfare issues on an ongoing basis.   

  • Develop and deliver up-to-date training on animal behaviour, facility design, humane handling, effective stunning and euthanasia to a wide ranging audience, from slaughter plant staff to graduate students, to improve overall animal welfare.

  • Assist with the development of animal welfare related policy including conducting animal welfare surveys and writing reports for senior management as well as drafting regulations.

  • Participate in the hiring of professional staff as well as acting as examiner on academic committees. 

  • Writing briefing notes and Minister’s letters and communicating with all levels of government and industry.

  • Regularly speak to groups on animal care and humane handling and facilitate industry meetings.

  • Conduct animal welfare and behaviour research, including the development of novel stunning techniques, as well as reviewing published research on humane handling and animal welfare assessment.

  • Link provincial, national and international expertise to respond to the training needs of stakeholders. Training programs developed and delivered include training programs for  poultry transport and euthanasia, the use of animal based measures for the dairy industry and on-going training for agents and inspectors of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), including a five day training on farm animals and a 3 day training on horses.

  • Respond to concerns/complaints (including undercover videos) from the general public, media and staff regarding the humane treatment of animals.

  • Provide expertise for the development of Codes of practice and on-farm animal welfare assessment programs (i.e., dairy, swine, mink and fox).

  • Develop guidelines for veterinarians related to humane transport and euthanasia, including a captive bolt certification course.

  • Identify gaps and provide educational material and audit materials for OMAFRA staff and stakeholders, including training for Dairy Farmers of Ontario and Chicken Farmers of Ontario.

  • Establish certification requirements and deliver core training for meat inspection staff  and salesbarn staff.


1983 – November 2006:  Animal Care Specialist, OMAFRA



  • The Ontario animal welfare lead in the development, coordination and delivery of policies and programs.

  • Conducted routine inspections of riding horse facilities, research facilities, dog pounds and fur farms.

  • Co-operated with other agencies including the Ontario Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Ontario Racing Commission and the Veterinary Drugs Directorate and acted as an expert witness as required.  

  • Developed and delivered inspection programs under the Animals for Research Act and the Livestock Medicines Act and developed an education course for vendors of livestock medicines and the Ontario Livestock Medicines Education Program as well as designing and delivering educational programs for licensees, such as the course for vendors, equine management and proper pound facility management.

  • Co-ordinated the transfer of the Livestock Branding Act to the Ontario Cattleman’s Association.

  • Represented the Ministry in the process of establishing an association of riding stable operators to increase the competitiveness of the horse industry following the repeal of the Riding Horse Establishments Act.

  • Inspecting facilities and advising the Director, Livestock Technology, on licensing issues.

  • Identifying deficiencies and making recommendations to license holders.

  • Advising clients on management strategies to enable them to meet legislative requirements.

  • Negotiating voluntary compliance, where possible.

  • Acting as a resource for clients and other ministry staff on issues involving animal welfare legislation, animal care and animal control.

  • Advising senior staff on matters relating to applicable legislation.

  • Interpreting legislation for staff, clients, license holders and the general public.

  • Preparing reports, memos, briefing notes and Minister’s letters.

  • Resolving/investigating complaints from the general public .

  • Collecting evidence and laying charges and/or initiating hearing proceedings.

  • Preparing background briefs for Ministry Legal Services Branch.

  • Co-operating with other law enforcement agencies including, the Humane Society, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs.

  • Lead the development of the Federal Provincial Animal Welfare Committee (FPAW) to coordinate animal welfare initiatives provincially and nationally.

  • Coordinated projects designed to assess the applicability of new or existing practices/products such as the development of a research protocol to test a novel on-farm euthanasia device for piglets.

  • Served as content team leader for the Ministry’s web page.

  • Organized and participated in province wide legislative reviews and have provided expert assistance in the development and revision of regulations. Member of the Haines Implementation Team, which analysed the 113 recommendations from the Haines review of the meat inspection system in Ontario and provided input toward an implementation strategy.

  • Secretary of the Expert Committee on Farm Animal Welfare and Behavoiur (ECFAWB) and also secretary/chair of the first Equine Code and worked closely with the Canadian Agri-Food Research Council to promote the Codes of Practice.  

  • Member of the CFIA’s International Avian Euthanasia Advisory Committee, involving a review of current on-farm euthanasia techniques and the development of policies and procedures for mass euthanasia of poultry in Canada.

  • Providing an effective liaison between the research community and industry to determine the applicability of new technologies to Ontario conditions and assist in the establishment of research priorities and activities including conducting original research to develop strategies to reduce transport stress for market hogs and research to examine the relationship between handling and meat quality. 

  • Providing expertise to senior management related to animal care matters such as the impact of the introduction of international standards with respect to the humane handling of animals during transport and at slaughter and the development of an animal health strategy.  

  • Developed policies and programs and educational materials such as the caring for compromised cattle and caring for compromised pigs brochures and on-farm animal welfare assessment tools, the development of training materials for transporters, codes of practice, resource materials for on-farm euthanasia and effective response to traffic accidents involving livestock.

  • Consulting with client organizations and agencies to identify concerns, issues, trends and new developments through on-going involvement with such groups as the Ontario Farm Animal Council, the Ontario Humane Transport Working Group, the Canadian Poultry Research Council and the Canadian Council on Animal Care.

  • Responded to the training needs of stakeholders with the development of relevant programs such as the Humane Handling Course for chicken catchers, training for the workers involved in the handling of spent hens and development of protocols for the on-farm euthanasia of spent hens.

  • Monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the delivery and implementation of information and education/training services and other programs, using performance measures to ensure that client needs are addressed efficiently and effectively including the development and monitoring of the impact of the course for chicken catchers through data collected at slaughter.




  • Refinement of animal based measures for use in on-farm animal welfare assessment programs (on-going);

  • Development of facial grimace scores for assessing pain in piglets;

  • Development of welfare measures for horses;

  • Investigation of euthanasia methods for poultry;

  • Comparison of three different types of animal welfare assessment programs on Canadian Swine Farms;

  • The Application of the American Meat Institutes animal welfare audit program in provincially licensed slaughter plants;

  • Managing Welfare Audit Systems: On-farm Animal Welfare Assessment for Pigs, Banff Pork Seminar, 2004.Temple Grandin, Tina Widowski and Penny Lawlis. 2002. London Swine Conference.

  • Canadian Pork Council’s On-Farm Animal Welfare Assessment Tool (ACA);

  • Using Inter-observer Reliability as a Teaching Tool in a Graduate Animal Welfare Assessment Course. Lawlis, P., S. Yue-Cottee, T.M. Widowski, 2009. Proceedings of the North American Regional Meeting, Montreal, Ontario. 

  • Inter-observer Reliability of Two Systems for Assessing Body Condition Score of Sows. 2011 A.L. Tucker and P. Lawlis. Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop on Animal Welfare Assessment at the Farm and Group Level.

  • On-Farm Animal Welfare Assessment, Centralia Swine Research Update, 2006.

  • Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of Assessment of Farm Animal Welfare at the Farm and Group Level. 2011. T. Widowski, P. Lawlis and K. Sheppard. (book).

  • The Impact of the Continuing Education of Veterinarians on the Improvement of Welfare Outcomes of Compromised Dairy Cattle: a Pilot Study. 2012. Nicola. J. Jackson, Richard. D. Smith, Penny. C. Lawlis, Leslie. A. Woodcock. Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

  • An Analysis of Incident Reports Related to Transport of Cull Dairy Cattle to Livestock Auction Markets in Ontario. 2012. Christie Ryan, Mike Draper, Penny Lawlis, Kristy Symon. Dairy Cattle Welfare Symposium, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

  • Sow Welfare Systems in US, EU and Canada. 2013. Ashley Roberts, Penny Lawlis, Tina Widowski and Renee Bergeron. Banff Pork Seminar.

  • Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs: 2014:

  • A pilot project of an on-farm dairy welfare assesspment program (2012-2013).

  • Canadian Code of Practice for Pigs (2014).

  • Effectiveness of a nonpenetrating captive bolt for euthanasia of 3 kg to 9 kg pigs. 2014. T. M. Casey-Trott, S. T. Millman, P. V. Turner, S. G. Nykamp, P. C. Lawlis, and T. M. Widowski. 2014. Journal of Animal Science.

  • Canadian Code of Practice for the Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys (2016);



Professional Development:

  • Technical Large Animal Rescue

  • Communication and Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

  • II&E Foundations Training

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Ontario Police College – By-law Enforcement.

  • OATI - Participative Training Techniques; Advanced Training Methods.

  •  Advisor Training for the Workplace Harassment/Discrimination Policy.

  • OPS - Dealing with the Media; Negotiation Skills.

  • Interministerial Staff Development Committee - Personal Safety Awareness; Building Morale in the Workplace; Jumping to Sound Conclusions - Research and Analysis; Developing surveys; Employment Equity.



Queen’s Jubilee Award from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies – 2002



London, Ontario

Penny Lawlis

pclawlis at gmail dot com

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