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SWAB: Surveillance Welfare and Biosecurity of farmed animals


Project title

SWAB: Surveillance Welfare and Biosecurity of farmed animals


The overall objective of the SWAB project is to work with scientists, industry, farmers and vets to develop novel solutions for some of the key issues facing Irish agriculture in the area of animal health & welfare.

More detailed description of the issue the project hope to address & how it plans to tackle this

Surveillance Welfare and Biosecurity of farmed animals (SWAB) will address major current and emerging animal health and welfare problems in the Irish agricultural industry. This will be achieved through a genuinely interdisciplinary programme that responds to three related research topics: factors influencing utilisation of DAFM animal health surveillance and diagnostic services; multi-stakeholder perspectives and behaviours impacting on animal welfare; and quantification of the benefits of farm-level biosecurity practices.

The project uses a carefully selected range of expertise from the disciplines of sociology, psychology, economics, veterinary medicine, animal welfare and epidemiology. Ten integrated tasks rigorously investigate the three related topics in a resource efficient and impactful way. Combining three research areas into a single project facilitates more efficient use of resources by enabling cross-pollination of ideas (interdisciplinarity); sharing of expertise; and efficiencies in the collection, acquisition and analyses of data. Involvement of representatives from DAFM, Animal Health Ireland, the farming community and industry will ensure that outputs are appropriately balanced between scientific enquiry and practical application as “ready to go” tools. In ensuring this methodologically, this project uses participatory action research methods involving all stakeholders (farmers, practicing veterinarians, industry, animal health professionals, consumers, other actors) to create policy/veterinary/extension tools that put into practice and create direct impact of research findings generated by the project in operational settings.

Project Partners


Contact: Áine MackenWalsh aine.mackenwalsh@teagasc.ie

University College Dublin

Contact: Conor McAloon conor.mcaloon@ucd.ie

National University of Ireland Galway

Contact: Doris Laepple doris.laepple@nuigalway.ie


The Surveillance Welfare and Biosecurity of farmed animals (SWAB) project has been funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Ireland under the Research Stimulus Fund (Project no: RSF 17/S/230).