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Laura Boyle

Senior 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

Current Projects

  • PLFPigCarc: Optimising feedback of computerised meat inspection findings and Precision Livestock Farming monitors on farm to improve pig health, welfare and carcass quality (Project leader)
  • 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 (Project leader)
  • SWAB: Surveillance, Welfare and Biosecurity of Farmed Animals (Task leader)
  • 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


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. Currently I am a senior research officer based with the pig development department.

Professional Membership

Society membership

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

International committees

  • President EAAP working group on animal behaviour
  • Management Committee member Group House Net (Cost Action 15134)
  • One Welfare Silkworm Advisory Board
  • World Animal Protection 3T’s Alliance
  • European Food Safety Authority ad hoc panel on pig welfare
  • European College of Animal Welfare and Behaviour Medicine - Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (Associate)

National committees

  • National Committee on Scientific Animal Protection
  • Scientific Advisory Committee on Animal Health and Welfare
  • Bord Bia animal welfare working group
  • Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (education sub-group)

Editorial board membership

  • Frontiers in Veterinary Science Associate Editor: Animal Behavior and Welfare (Speciality Chief Editor from January 2021)
  • Livestock Science Section Editor: Behaviour, health and welfare

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


Listed hereunder are the 2019 and 2020 publications of Dr. Boyle (as per October 2020)

van Staaveren, N., Boyle, L.A., Manzanilla, E.G., O’Driscoll, K., Shalloo, L. and Calderón Díaz, J.A. 2020. Severe tail lesions in finisher pigs are associated with reduction in annual profit in farrow-to-finish pig farms. Veterinary Record (accepted September)

Marchant-Forde, J.N. and Boyle, L.A. COVID-19 effects on livestock production: A One Welfare issue. Frontiers in Veterinary Science7: 585787. doi: 10.3389/fvets

Hartnett, P., Boyle, L.A., O’Driscoll, K. 2020. Rearing in female-only groups and mineral supplementation improves sow welfare in the early parities, and lifetime performance. Translational Animal Science (accepted September)

Nordgreen, J., Edwards, S.A., Boyle, L.A., Bolhuis, J.E., Veit, C., Sayyarif, A., Maring, D., Dimitrovh, I., Janczak, A., Valros, A. 2020. A proposed role for pro-inflammatory cytokines in damaging behaviour in pigs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7, p.646

Teixeira, D.L., Salazar-Hoffmann, L., Enriquez-Hidalgo, D. and Boyle, L.A. Assessment of animal-based pig welfare outcomes on farm and at the abattoir: a case study. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7, p. 667.

Teixeira, D.L, Lykke, L. and Boyle, L.A., 2020. The effect of a novel transport system on the welfare and meat quality of slaughter pigs. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, pp.1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10888705.2020.1790370

Teixeira, D.L., Boyle, L.A., Enriquez Hidalgo, D. 2020. Infrared skin temperature of slaughter pigs with tail lesions. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 7: 198 https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00198

Hartnett, P., Boyle, L.A. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. The effect of group composition and mineral supplementation during rearing on the behavior and welfare of replacement gilts. Translational Animal Science, 4 (2) pp. 1-13 https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa002

Mee, J.F. and Boyle, L.A. 2020. Assessing whether dairy cow welfare is ‘better’ in pasture-based than in confinement-based management systems. New Zealand Veterinary Journal pp.1-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/00480169.2020.1721034

Peden, R.S.E., Camerlink, I., Boyle, L.A., Loughnan, S., Akaichi, F. and Turner, S.P. 2020. Belief in pigs’ capacity to suffer: An assessment of pig farmers, veterinarians, students, and citizens. Anthrozoös 33(1), pp.21-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/08927936.2020.1694304

Schmitt, O., Baxter, E.M., Lawlor, P.G., Boyle, L.A., O'Driscoll, K. 2019. A single dose of energy supplement to light birth-weight pigs shortly after birth does not increase their survival and growth. Animals, 9(5): 227. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050227

Hartnett, P., Boyle, L.A, Younge, B., and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. The effect of group composition and mineral supplementation during rearing on measures of cartilage condition and bone mineral density in replacement gilts. Animals 9(9), 637 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090637

Peden, R.S.E., Akaichi, F., Camerlink, I., Boyle, L.A., Turner, S.P. 2019. Pig farmers’ willingness to pay for management strategies to reduce aggression between pigs. PLOS ONE 14(11):e0224924; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224924

van Staaveren, N., Hanlon A., Boyle, L.A. 2019. Damaging behaviour and associated lesions in relation to types of enrichment for finisher pigs on commercial farms. Animals 19;9 (9):677; doi http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani9090677

Schmitt, O., Baxter, E. M., Boyle, L.A. & O’Driscoll, K. 2019. Nurse sow strategies in the domestic pig: I. Consequences for selected measures of sow welfare. Animal, 13(3), 580-589. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S175173111800160X

Diana, A., Boyle, L.A., Manzanilla, E. G., Leonard, F. C. and Calderon Díaz, J.A.C. 2019. Ear, tail and skin lesions vary according to different production flows in a farrow-to-finish pig farm. Porcine health management, 5(1), 19. doi.org/10.1186/s40813-019-0126-9

Schmitt, O., O'Driscoll, K., Baxter, E.M., Boyle, L.A. 2019. Artificial rearing affects the emotional state and reactivity of pigs post-weaning. Animal Welfare 28(4):433-442; doi http://dx.doi.org/10.7120/09627286.28.4.433.

Diana, A., Carpentier, L., Piette, D., Boyle, L.A., Berckmans, D. and Norton, T. 2019. An ethogram of biter and bitten pigs during an ear biting event: first step in the development of a Precision Livestock Farming tool. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 215: 26-36 doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2019.03.011

Peden, R., Akaichi, F., Camerlink, I., Boyle, L.A and Turner, S. 2019. Factors influencing farmer willingness to reduce aggression between pigs. Animals 9(1), 6.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010006  

van Staaveren, N., Doyle, B., Hanlon, A. and Boyle, L.A. 2019. Multi-stakeholder focus groups on potential for meat inspection data to inform management of pig health and welfare on farm. Agriculture 9: 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9020040

Diana, A., Boyle, L.A., Leonard, F.C., Carroll, C., Sheehan, E., Murphy, D., Manzanilla, E.G. 2019. Removing prophylactic antibiotics from pig feed: how does it affect their performance and health? BMC Veterinary Research 15:67 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-019-1808-x

Schmitt, O., Baxter, E.M., Boyle, L.A. and O’Driscoll, K., 2019. Nurse sow strategies in the domestic pig: II. Consequences for piglet growth, suckling behaviour and sow nursing behaviour. Animal, 13(3), pp.590-599. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1751731118001702

Schmitt, O., O'Driscoll, K., Boyle, L.A. and Baxter, E.M., 2019. Artificial rearing affects piglets pre-weaning behaviour, welfare and growth performance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 210, pp.16-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.10.018

Peden, R.S., Camerlink, I., Boyle, L.A., Akaichi, F. and Turner, S.P., 2019. Farmer perceptions of pig aggression compared to animal-based measures of fight outcome. Animals, 9(1), p.22.https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010022

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