Supporters of woman filmed hitting horse

Teacher should NOT have been fired for kicking horse: Supporters of woman filmed hitting animal say she was stopping it from running into the road and shouldn’t be sacked over something ‘unrelated to her job’

  • Sarah Moulds, 37, lost her role as a teacher after six-week investigation
  • Clip showed her kicking and slapping horse in Leicestershire last month
  • Video, filmed by an anti-fox hunt campaign group, went viral on social media
  • In aftermath, Mrs Moulds forced into hiding after receiving death threats

Supporters of the primary school teacher who was filmed kicking and slapping a horse have said she should not have been sacked from her job.

Sarah Moulds, 37, who was condemned by the RSPCA for alleged animal cruelty last month, lost her job at Somerby School in Leicestershire after footage emerged of her repeatedly kicking, slapping and punching the animal.

The mother-of-two, from Somerby, near Melton Mowbray, was dismissed from her position yesterday after a six-week investigation by education chiefs.

Speaking on the decision Mowbray Education Trust Chief Operating Officer Paul Maddox said: ‘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.’

However some social media users have now criticised the decision by the Trust, with one saying the incident was ‘unrelated to teaching’.

It comes after the RSPCA said it would ‘look into complaints made about animal welfare’ but was ‘unable to comment’ on whether they would be prosecuting Mrs Moulds for the filmed incident.

Sarah Moulds, a foxhunter who was filmed appearing to punch and kick a horse, lost her job as a primary school teacher after an investigation by the school in relation to the viral video

Mrs Moulds was a senior leader and class three team teacher at her local Somerby School (pictured) and was also a director of the Knossington and Somerby Pre-School before her termination

Last month footage appeared to show Mrs Moulds repeatedly kicking and slapping a horse after a hunting event organised by Cottesmore Hunt, a group based in Rutland, East Midlands

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: ‘We understand there is a lot of interest in this incident and we would like to reassure people we will always look into complaints made about animal welfare.

‘However, we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people and what action may have been taken. 

‘We understand how frustrating that is for animal lovers but releasing information could prejudice a future prosecution or could lead to us being fined. We are unable to comment further at this time.’

Taking to social media today one person wrote: ‘I don’t condone the kick or the slaps, but the horse ran into the road beforehand and none of us watching the video (filmed by a group that has a motive to present things in the word possible light) knows the full story.

‘To lose her job on the basis of that? I hope she doesn’t read the spiteful comments here. Humans suffer too.’ 

While another added: ‘Is it right that a woman who may be a very good teacher is sacked for behaving badly with an ill-tempered horse? This is yet another social media witch hunt.’

Meanwhile another person said:  ‘A farmer told me I don’t understand country ways and foxes need to be controlled as they kill for fun. Probably. But I don’t like the class divide of ritualistic blood sports. 

‘However, I do think that it is an overreaction regarding Sarah Moulds. A witch hunt unrelated to teaching.’ 

Mrs Moulds was a senior leader and class three team teacher at her local Somerby School and was also a director of the Knossington and Somerby Pre-School before her termination.

The 37-year-old was seen lashing out at the horse following a Cottesmore Hunt meet in the county earlier this year.

A clip captured by anti-hunt activists went viral, sparking outrage nationally and globally. 

The Pony Club, which claims to be the world’s largest equestrian youth organisation with more than 30,000 UK members, also terminated the school teacher’s position as a team manager while condemning her actions as ‘unacceptable’.

Some social media users criticised the decision, with one saying the incident was ‘unrelated to teaching’

The RSPCA described the incident as ‘upsetting’ and appealed for witnesses to get in touch

In the aftermath of the video going viral, Mrs Moulds received abuse and death threats and moved to a secret location away from her semi-detached £350,000 property for several days.

A neighbour previously told how she had fled because she ‘feared for her life,’ saying: ‘She’s had to go away after receiving death threats and loads of vile abuse. It’s awful and has got very much out of hand. She fears for her life.’

The neighbour added: ‘I don’t know what happened and in what context but what is now happening to Sarah is horrible. She’s terrified of being in her own home in case someone targets her or her kids there.’ 

The local rider added: ‘She has young children and she is worried about them as well as herself.

‘She’s well known and respected in equestrian circles and her social media was bombarded with comments from very angry people after the video went viral and she’s now had to close it down.’

Her uncle David Kirkham from Bonsall, Derbyshire, insisted: ‘She is a very upright person, a fantastic person who absolutely loves her horses.

‘I’ve seen the video but we don’t know what the horse had been doing and if it was out of control. But we know it ran out onto the road and she told it off.

‘She was reprimanding the horse. There was no malice intended. She is very well thought of and respected.’

In the footage, a white horse trots away from the back of a horse trailer before it is stopped by a young rider.

A woman dressed in cream breeches and a navy jacket then grabs the reins of the animal before kicking its body and slapping it repeatedly as it tries to pull away.  

The Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs, who say they use ‘non-violent direct action to save wildlife’, shared the video on its Twitter page and tagged the RSPCA. 

The group said that the incident took place on November 6 after a Cottesmore Hunt, one of the oldest hunts in Britain, and the incident demonstrated ‘violence running through their veins’. 

Cottesmore Hunt said it did not condone the actions shown in the video ‘under any circumstances’.

The group said it ‘will be reminding all of our supporters that this will not be tolerated’.

Countryside campaigner Chris Packham also called on the RSPCA to ‘urgently investigate and definitively prosecute this appalling abuse – thus upholding our standards of animal welfare protection’.

Pictured: An RSPCA card with a note was pinned to the front door of Mrs Moulds’s house

The RSPCA confirmed it had seen the footage which it described as ‘upsetting’, with a business card seen outside Mrs Moulds’s home days after the incident. 

Meanwhile, BBC Springwatch presenter and zoologist Megan McCubbin said the footage showed ‘disgusting behaviour’. She said: ‘Yet another ugly side of an activist some call ‘sport’.’ 

The Hunting Office also criticised the footage and said the perpetrator does not belong to its hunting associations, adding that ‘it expects the highest level of animal welfare at all times’. 

Anne Brummer, the CEO of animal welfare organisation Save Me Trust, said: ‘Absolutely disgusting, she should be prosecuted and not allowed near a horse again. No one around her seems socked, what is wrong with these people.’

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