Our History

The vision for BARTA grew from humble beginnings in the fire and rescue service with a desire to be better equipped to deal with animal rescue situations they encountered.

Development began in the early 1990’s with animal behaviour training and expanded with the addition of rescue techniques. This continued to grow into what has become a multi agency and multi discipline requirement for training in techniques and incident management.

As the initiative outgrew the fire and rescue service it was clear that a co-ordinating body would be required. Some notable milestones preceded and led to the establishment of BARTA


The launch of the Emergency Services Protocol and the equine veterinary practice directory by the British Horse Society and British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) in 2007 was a landmark event that marked the beginning of a cohesive animal rescue initiative in the UK.

The protocol provided guidance for those responding to incidents involving horses and was written in response to calls from equine media and welfare organisations for better animal rescue provision within rescue services. Some notable events were cited where lack of knowledge, particularly from first responders placed themselves and the public in immediate danger, with the knock on effect of poor animal welfare and even suffering.

It was at this event that the then BEVA President, Prof Josh Slater, began considering the training needs of the veterinary profession in supporting emergency responders. He understood the potentially growing demand for vets to train for these incidents, something their university curriculum did not prepare them for.

HRH The Princess Royal greets Jim Green at the launch of the Emergency Services Protocol at Buckingham Palace.

Members of the UK Fire and Rescue Service, vets and volunteers during Animal Rescue Specialist training in the New Forest


Following a successful national animal rescue conference hosted by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) established an Animal Rescue Practitioners Forum (ARPF). Led by Hampshire the forum was mandated to develop national standard operating procedures (SOP’s) for animal rescue and supplement that with approved techniques, equipment and training.

The fire and rescue service and equine veterinary association have been working together to deliver joint training and awareness since 2008.


Within veterinary circles the animal rescue initiative has been championed by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) in conjunction with the British Horse Society (BHS) and supported by equine welfare groups. Since inception, the vision had been to expand the veterinary input to include all species and the first steps were taken to include cattle through the involvement of the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) from 2009.

HRH The Princess Royal attends the BCVA Conference to launch their rescue initiative

Fire and Rescue Service Operational Guidance document


By 2010 the UK Fire and Rescue Service had standardised policies and procedures for large animal rescue. During the two years following the launch of the Animal Rescue Practitioners Forum, this well established group created and disseminated documents which would underpin the formation of the nation’s animal rescue teams.

To support this Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service delivered the essential AR3 Team Leader courses exclusively from 2009-2016 and to date 90% of UK fire and rescue services have an animal rescue component and are working to the national guidelines.


Jim Green supported the Veterinary Services Team during the 2012 London Olympics as rescue consultant. This reinforced the growing understanding that the presence of animals provides the opportunity for hazardous situations to occur in a wide range of events and working environments.

As the veterinary community embraced their role within multi agency emergency incidents it was clear that a wider vision was opening up…

BARTA was inaugurated in October 2012 by founders Jim Green and Josh Slater to provide structure and support to the growing animal rescue initiative which was now spreading to various agencies and disciplines.

Those benefiting from advice and training now extended to firefighters, veterinarians, vet techs, animal welfare groups, RSPCA, Mounted Police, Mounted Regiments and animal event organisers.

Jim Green with other team members of Fence 11 during the London 2012 Olympic Cross Country event.

Picture on left of slide shows Jim being interviewed at the 2013 event, on the right an equine technical rescue display.


Jim Green and Josh Slater represented BARTA at an international animal rescue conference hosted by Horse South Australia.

For conference materials from Horse SA click here: http://www.horsesa.asn.au/emergency/large-animal-rescue/

Jim delivered several keynote presentations which covered a range of topics from strategic planning to operations. An essential ingredient was to demonstrate how a multi agency joined up initiative was achieved in the UK.


BARTA hosted an inaugural conference in Prague, Czech Republic which was attended by members of 16 countries. It became obvious that the needs of the international community were very much aligned and BARTA began to forge relationships that would support an ongoing collaborative approach.

The conference overview and keynote speeches are available on BARTA’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYhxapv_gYY

BARTA Prague 2015 logo

Charlotte Launder dealing with animals in the network training to highways england traffic officers


In 2016 BARTA expanded its stakeholder base and was approached by UK Government agency, Highways England, to develop bespoke solutions to the growing issues around animals on the UK motorway network.

Safety, animal welfare and economic considerations led to a multi faceted plan for the agency in response to 4500 or so animal related incidents on the motorway annually. More than 1000 Traffic Officers are engaged in a programme of blended learning, including two hours of pre-course assessed eLearning and practical sessions on horses, dogs and swans.


BARTA director Jim Green took a sabbatical from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to work for the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California. This was in response to a request for assistance to develop an integrated model which would support emergency responders and vets to fulfil their roles in emergencies and disasters.

Jim saw an opportunity to extend the joined up nature of the initiative, learn from those more accustomed to natural disaster response and capitalise on the huge research value from experts in the world’s number one veterinary university.

Urban shield exercise in California 2017


In October 2017 BARTA teamed up with UC Davis to host the second bi-annual BARTA conference, this time with a heavy focus on managing risk and meeting societal needs in the context of Incidents Involving Animals.

Link to conference: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/iawti/news/conference-2017/index.cfm