Recipient of prestigious Innovative Development in Animal Welfare award announced

Dr Laura Boyle, Senior Research Officer at Teagasc, has been announced as the recipient of the 2019 British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) award for Innovative Development in Animal Welfare, which will be presented at the upcoming BSAS Annual Conference taking place in Edinburgh from 9-11 April. 

The award, introduced jointly by the BSAS and the RSPCA, is being presented to Dr Boyle in recognition of her long-standing research into the welfare of dairy cattle and pigs and her contribution to developing carcass lesions as indicators of pig welfare. 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the award, first given in 1989. It brought animal welfare to the forefront at a time when it had yet to receive widespread acknowledgement in the scientific community. Today, the award continues to challenge conventional thought, with the hugely topical issue of animal sentience lying at the centre of the work of the 2018 award recipient, Professor Bob Elwood.

Dr Boyle has been a passionate researcher and advocate for livestock welfare for almost 25 years, focusing her efforts on the welfare of dairy cows and pigs in particular as well as on ethics in animal research. She organised the successful ‘Challenges in Scientific Research with Large Animals’ session at the 2018 Dublin BSAS Annual Conference and will be co-leading a forthcoming international conference on animal welfare in Ireland in 2020.

Speaking about her award, Dr Boyle said:

“I am honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award. I hope to use the recognition it affords me to progress both the science and the cause of animal welfare in Ireland and abroad. In an era of increasingly polarised views about animal production I’m particularly keen to use my background in agriculture and animal welfare to bridge the gap between farmers and society.”

Maggie Mitchell, Chief Executive of the British Society of Animal Science, said:

“We are delighted to be presenting this award to Dr Boyle in acknowledgement of her sterling efforts to improve the welfare of dairy cattle and pigs. Her dedication to animal health and welfare is remarkable, with her research and advocacy spanning almost 25 years. She is a truly deserving winner, and we look forward to presenting her with the award at this year’s BSAS conference dinner.”

Dr Julia Wrathall, RSPCA Chief Scientific Officer, said:

“The RSPCA is delighted to join with BSAS once more in presenting our joint award.  Thirty years on from its inception, it continues to highlight the importance and value of animal welfare science by informing good practice in many areas of human-animal interaction. Dr Boyle's long standing and extensive work in the area of farm animal welfare makes her a very worthy recipient of the 2019 award."
This year’s BSAS Annual Conference will be an educational look at what the animal science industry can do to ensure it is “Fit for the Future”. 

A thought-provoking programme of sessions is planned for across the three-day event, covering a range of topics from equine care to aquaculture. An international line-up of speakers will also feature, showcasing a variety of industry experts speaking on the developments being made in the animal science sector today.

The full programme and details on how to book your tickets can be found on the BSAS website

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