A Midlands primary school teacher has been sacked after a viral video appeared to show a woman kicking and repeatedly slapping a horse she was trying to control.
Sarah Moulds, 37, has been fired from her post at the Mowbray Education Trust in the town of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
Moulds has lost a voluntary position at her local branch of the Pony Club, while a Leicestershire hunting group has said a “follower will not participate in trail hunting” with them.
The video is also being investigated by the RSPCA.
What happens in the video?
The video of the incident was first posted on Twitter by the Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs in early November.
The animal welfare group said the footage had been taken at the Cottesmore Hunt - a fox hunt that claims to be one of the oldest in the world.
In the footage, a horse is shown running into a road before having its reins grabbed by a woman dressed in riding gear.
After seeming to aim a kick at the horse, the woman then appears to repeatedly slap the animal before dragging it into a horsebox.
The 27-second long video has been seen 3.7 million times on Twitter and has attracted the attention of well-known faces like the actor Russell Tovey and tennis coach Judy Murray, with Ms Murray describing the woman’s actions as a “disgrace”.
What has happened since?
In the wake of the video, a petition was set up urging police to find the woman in the video and charge her with animal welfare breaches.
It has been signed almost 104,000 times, although it is not known whether Leicestershire Police have followed up on the incident.
Mowbray Education Trust suspended Sarah Moulds in November, with its chief operating officer Paul Maddox confirming she has since been sacked.
He said in a statement: “I can confirm that Sarah Moulds’ employment with the Trust has been terminated.
“As a Trust we are committed to ensuring the best standard of education for all of our young people and we look forward to continuing this throughout the 2021/22 academic year and beyond.”
The Cottesmore Hunt said it “strongly” disapproved of the video of “one of our followers mistreating a pony”.
Meanwhile, the RSPCA has described the video as “really upsetting” and urged anyone with information about what it appears to depict to contact the charity on 0300 123 4999.
Additional reporting by PA
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