A primary school teacher has been suspended from her job after “upsetting” footage was posted online of a woman punching and kicking a horse.
The video is being looked into by the RSPCA and the Mowbray Education Trust in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said the suspension, for a woman named in reports as 37-year-old Sarah Moulds, was in place pending a formal investigation.
The footage, posted on Twitter by Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs from the Cottesmore Hunt, shows a woman kick and then repeatedly slap the animal after it ran out into the road.
In their first statement released after the video was posted online, Mowbray Education Trust said: “We are aware of an incident over the weekend involving a member of staff.”
The school then issued a further statement which read: “Further to our statement of November 8, we can confirm that a member of staff has been suspended pending formal investigations into an incident that occurred at the weekend.
“We will not be making any further comments while the investigation is in progress.”
The woman has also been removed from her voluntary position at her local branch at the Pony Club.
In a statement, the Pony Club said: “We are aware of the video circulating showing unacceptable treatment of a pony and we wholeheartedly condemn this behaviour.
“The welfare of horses and ponies is of the utmost importance to the Pony Club, therefore the lady in question has been removed from her voluntary position as a team organiser for a Branch.
“The Pony Club is a youth membership organisation and as such, she is not a member of the Pony Club.”
The Cottesmore Hunt said a “thorough internal investigation” had meant a “follower will not participate in trail hunting” with them.
They previously said they “strongly disapprove” of the video of “one of our followers mistreating a pony.”
A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “This footage is really upsetting.
“We will always look into complaints made to us about animal welfare.
“We would urge anyone with first hand information about this incident to contact us on 0300 123 4999.”
An RSPCA spokesperson 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.”