BARTA Community – Spotlight on our People

The BARTA community wouldn’t exist without the many dedicated people who contribute their time, skills and expertise across all species groups to help us fulfil our vision, inspiring excellence in animal response.

With that in mind we want to shine a light on those individuals who have helped BARTA on their journey.

Dr Chris Tufnell BSc(Hons) BVMS FRCVS

What inspired you to get involved with BARTA?

In my first few years in equine practice I was unlucky enough to be involved with several emergencies involving horses on the M3 and M4 motorways.  It was clear to me then that coordination between vets and rescuers, particularly the Fire Service, was crucial to maximise the chances of successful and safe outcomes for all involved.  

I was lucky enough when based in the New Forest to attend the first ever course for vets run at Lyndhurst Fire Station and this really cemented my belief that training would be of benefit to all.  Having remained in the Hampshire/Berkshire area I’ve been fortunate to attend rescues with trained firefighters and they have always appreciated working with a vet that understands how they work.  

A number of years ago I attended the largest ever equine rescue on the A303 in Hampshire and was the lead vet of a team of three vets working to assist the Fire Service in recovering ten polo ponies from a rolled lorry.  This major incident which took six hours to resolve inspired me to continue my involvement with ensuring that as many vets and Fire Services were trained in animal rescue techniques as possible.

What special interest do you have in dealing with Incidents Involving Animals/Disasters?

As equine vets we frequently work alone and being able to be a part of a team is hugely satisfying.  Each rescue has unique challenges associated with it and frequently, whilst there are recognised techniques and protocols, there is a great deal of thought and ingenuity required in employing them.

As an equine general practitioner my priority is the welfare of the animal whilst ensuring the safety of those attending.  

Whilst the work can frequently be challenging there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from collaborating with other rescuers towards a successful outcome.  

What would be your vision for the future?

A country where every animal rescued has an optimal and safely accomplished outcome according to its circumstances.  

This will require that all vets likely to be called to rescues have had some training in how to work with the emergency services and in recovery techniques and that fire crews have had training in working in these special circumstances.