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Laura Boyle

Research Officer

Research Interests

  • Interrelationship between animal health and animal welfare
  • Contribution animal welfare can make to reducing use of antibiotics and the overall sustainability of animal agriculture
  • Contribution of data on animal based outcomes measured at the abattoir to improving pig welfare on-farm
  • Private standards in quality assurance and labelling
  • Development of One Welfare friendly production systems


Currently I am a Senior Research Officer based with the pig development department.

After completing my bachelors of agricultural science degree (1994) I worked with the French National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) in the Laboratory of Behaviour and Reproductive Physiology at the Research Centre of Tours in France (1995). I returned to Ireland to commence a programme of postgraduate research (Masters–1996; PhD-2000) under the Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme registered with University College Dublin and based at Teagasc Moorepark. I started my first post as a research officer with the pig department at Moorepark in 2000 and worked across the pig and dairy departments from 2003 to 2008. 

Current Projects

  • OneWelPig: A One Welfare approach to the development of alternative and high welfare systems of pig production
  • EarWel: Elucidating etiology and risk factors for ear necrosis on Irish pig farms
  • PLFPigCarc: Optimising feedback of computerised meat inspection findings and Precision Livestock Farming monitors on farm to improve pig health, welfare and carcass quality
  • SowWeanWel: The implications of chronic stress in gestating sows for sow performance and welfare and for the resilience of her piglets to stress and disease
  • DEMETER: Building a Data-Driven Innovative and Sustainable European Agri-Food Sector through IoT (partner on dairy cow welfare Use-Case)
  • PIGNODOCK: Transitioning to rearing pigs without docking tails through development of risk assessment tools (project partner)


  • Ph.D. in Animal Science (sow behaviour and welfare), University College Dublin
  • Master of Agricultural Science (sow welfare), University College Dublin
  • Bachelor of Agriculture Science (Animal Science), University College Dublin

Professional Membership

  • European College of Animal Welfare and Behaviour Medicine - Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (Associate member)
  • President (acting) European Association for Animal Production (EAAP) Health and Welfare Study Commission
  • President EAAP working group on animal behaviour
  • European Food Safety Authority ad hoc expert panel on pig welfare

Society membership

  • International Society for Applied Ethology
  • British Society of Animal Science
  • European Association for Animal Production

International committees

  • One Welfare Silkworm Advisory Board
  • World Animal Protection 3T’s Alliance

Editorial board membership

  • Frontiers in Veterinary Science Associate Editor: Animal Behavior and Welfare (Speciality Chief Editor)

A complete list of Dr. Boyle’s publications is available at:


Recent publications

Boyle, L.A., Edwards, S.A., Bolhuis, L., Pol, F., Zupan, M., Schütze, S., Nordgreen, J., Bozakova, N., Sossidou, E., Valros, A. 2022. The evidence for a causal link between disease and damaging behaviour in pigs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2021.771682

Galli, M.C., Gottardo, F., Contiero, B., Scollo, A., Boyle, L.A. 2021. The changing face and associated drivers of research on welfare of the gestating sow. Italian Journal of Animal Science 20: 2174-2187. https://doi.org/10.1080/1828051X.2021.2002732

More, S.J. Marchewka, J., Hanlon, A., Balzani, A., Boyle, L.A. 2021. An evaluation of four private animal health and welfare standards and associated quality assurance programmes for dairy cow production. 105 (2021) Food Policy https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2021.102169

Lagoda, M.E., Boyle, L.A., Marchewka, J., O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Early detection of suboptimal locomotion in gilts using a novel visual analogue scale; associations with chronic stress and reproduction. 11, 2900. Animals https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102900

Pessoa, J.C., McAloon, C., Rodrigues da Costa, M., Manzanilla, E.G., Norton, T., Boyle, L.A. 2021. Adding value to food chain information: using data on pig welfare and antimicrobial use on-farm to predict meat inspection outcomes. 7:55 Porcine Health Management https://doi.org/10.1186/s40813-021-00234-x

Boyle, L.A. and Mee, J.F. 2021. Protecting the welfare of young slaughter (“bobby”) dairy calves: The role of animal-based welfare indicators at ante- and post mortem (AM/PM) inspection. 8: 645537 Frontiers in Veterinary Medicine DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2021.645537

Montoro, J.C., Boyle, L.A., Solà-Oriol, D., Muns, R., Gasa, J. and Manzanilla, E.G. 2021. Effect of space allowance and mixing on growth performance and body lesions of grower-finisher pigs in pens with a single wet-dry feeder. Porcine Health Management 7:7 https://doi.org/10.1186/s40813-020-00187-7

Lagoda, M.E., O’Driscoll, K., Marchewka, J., Foister, S., Turner, S.P., Boyle, L.A. 2021. Associations between skin lesion counts, hair cortisol concentrations and reproductive performance in group housed sows. Livestock Science 246:104463 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2021.104463

Diana, A., Snijders, S.E.M., Rieple, A., Boyle, L.A. 2021. Why do Irish pig farmers use medications? Barriers for effective reduction of antimicrobials in Irish pig production. Irish Veterinary Journal 74:12 https://doi.org/10.1186/s13620-021-00193-3

Osawe, W., Laepple, D., Hanlon, A. and Boyle, L.A. 2021. Calf welfare post EU milk quota abolition: Exploring farmers’ attitudes and determinants of calf welfare indicators. Journal of Dairy Science https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2020-19550

Rodriques da Costa, M.R., García Manzanilla, E., Diana, A., van Staaveren, N., Torres-Pitarch, A., Boyle, L.A. and Calderón Díaz, J.A. 2021. Identifying challenges to manage body weight variation in pig farms implementing all-in-all-out management practices and their possible implications for animal health: a case study. Porcine Health Management 7:10 https://doi.org/10.1186/s40813-021-00190-6

van Staaveren, N., Boyle, L.A., Manzanilla, E.G., O’Driscoll, K., Shalloo, L. and Calderón Díaz, J.A. 2021. Severe tail lesions in finisher pigs are associated with a reduction in annual profit in farrow-to-finish pig farms. Veterinary Record https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.13

Lagoda, M.E., Boyle, L.A., Marchewka, J., Calderón Díaz, J.A. 2021. Mixing aggression intensity is associated with age at first service and floor type during gestation, with implications for sow reproductive performance. Animal https://doi.org/10.1016/j.animal.2020.100158

Pereira, F., Teixeira, D.L., Boyle, L.A., Pinheiro Machado Fº, L.C., Williams, R. and Enriquez-Hidalgo, D., 2021. Dairy cow behavior is not affected by the equipment used in the SF 6 technique to estimate methane emissions. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, p.1249. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.620810

Pessoa, J., da Costa, M.R., Manzanilla, E.G., Norton, T., McAloon, C., Boyle, L.A. 2021. Managing respiratory disease in finisher pigs: Combining quantitative assessments of clinical signs and the prevalence of lung lesions at slaughter. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 186, p.105208. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105208

Hartnett, P., Boyle, L.A., O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Rearing in female-only groups and dietary mineral supplementation improves sow welfare in the early parities, and lifetime performance. Translational Animal Science 4: 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa176

Martyna Lagoda

Joana Pessoa