Achieving Change in Research

Meet the Presenters

Dr. Benjamin Lecorps PhD 2020

Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Bristol Vet School

Benjamin Lecorps is an Animal Welfare scientist looking to use scientific methods to improve the welfare of captive animals. His research focuses on better understanding the affective (emotional) experiences of animals, especially dairy cattle, when subjected to routine farm procedures (e.g., disbudding, weaning). This knowledge will help refine the understanding of what animals emotionally experience in response to routine, arguably aversive, farm procedures and will offer animal-based solutions. He is also interested in how these solutions can be practically implemented in dairy farms in a way that benefits both animals and farmers. Benjamin’s research also takes other sustainability challenges into account, such as climate change, and will explore ways to improve animal welfare while reducing greenhouse gas emissions (win-win strategies).

PhD Thesis

Dr. Beth Ventura PhD 2015

Senior Lecturer – Animal Behaviour and Welfare, University of Lincoln, UK

Beth Ventura is a Senior Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Welfare at the University of Lincoln, United Kingdom. Originally from the United States, Beth worked primarily in Canada and the US before relocating to England in 2022. Prior to her current role, she served as Teaching Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, where she developed and taught courses on animal welfare, applied ethology, and human-animal interactions for thousands of students. Her research interests encompass both the animal and human side of animal welfare and she has worked with farmed animals, horses, and captive wild animals investigating topics including environmental enrichment, pain, and more recently, cognition. The core of her research program, however, addresses the human-level factors that influence animal welfare. She sits on the Ethics Committee of the International Society for Applied Ethology, is a member of the American Dairy Science Association, and is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. Beth also co-founded and -facilitates the Animal Welfare Education Community of Practice, a grassroots community for those interested in teaching applied ethology and welfare and which now serves over 115 members based in 60+ institutions around the world. Those interested in joining are invited to email her at

PhD Thesis

Dr. Joao Costa PhD 2015

Assistant Professor – Dairy Science, University of Kentucky

Joao Costa has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky since 2017. He obtained his Bachelor degree (2009) and MSc degree (2012) at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil and his PhD (2015) from the University of British Columbia. His research group investigates the effects of preweaning nutrition and environment on dairy calves’ early development, the feeding behavior of dairy cattle, and the use of precision technologies to make nutritional decisions. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 100 abstracts in scientific conferences, and presented 52 national and international invited talks in 13 countries.

PhD Thesis

Dr. Jennifer Van Os

Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare – Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jennifer Van Os is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Animal Welfare on the faculty of the Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her PhD in the interdisciplinary Animal Behavior graduate program at the University of California-Davis and conducted postdoctoral research in the Animal Welfare Program at the University of British Columbia. The research in her lab at UW-Madison focuses on understanding, evaluating, and improving the welfare of dairy animals from biological- and social-science perspectives. The goal of her extension program is to promote best practices in management and housing to help the dairy industry adapt as our scientific knowledge about animal welfare continues to grow.

Listen to the episode below!