Sarah Moulds, the hunt rider who was filmed kicking and punching a horse in November, has been charged with animal cruelty by the RSPCA. It follows reports from last month when Moulds was fired from her role as a primary school teacher.
Anti-hunting group Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs shared the video to social media on November 7, 2021, describing it as: “Violence running through their veins.”
In the clip, Moulds aggressively grabs a pony named Bruce by the reins, strikes him, and pulls him into a truck.
The video has now surpassed 3.7 million views on Twitter.
Moulds was riding with Rutland-based foxhound pack Cottesmore Hunt. It’s one of the oldest foxhound packs in Britain.
Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs shared a statement online about the footage. The group said that the hunt stewards watched the rider hit the animal and did “absolutely nothing to stop her.”
“If that is how they treat their horses while in full view on a public road just imagine the abuse they suffer out of sight,” the group wrote.
They also said they witnessed hunt members illegally blocking roads on multiple occasions. And, that the hunt had their bird of prey with them, despite warnings of an outbreak of bird flu.
Multiple high-profile names stepped in to voice their disapproval for the rider’s behavior, including John Bishop and Judy Murray.
Wildlife presenter and conservationist Chris Packham, who often advocates for animals, spoke out about the incident on Twitter. He directed his post at the RSPCA UK, of which he is vice president.
“Good afternoon [RSPCA], as a VP can I call upon you to urgently investigate and definitively prosecute this appalling abuse – thus upholding our standards of animal welfare protection. Thank you,” Packham wrote.
The charity shared a response to the “upsetting” footage, calling for witnesses to come forward.
The RSPCA has now confirmed it is prosecuting Moulds over two offenses under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the BBC reports.
The animal protection organization maintains that the former teacher caused “unnecessary suffering” to Bruce by ”kicking and hitting him.”
Further, the RSPCA says Moulds did not take appropriate steps to ”protect the animal from pain, suffering, injury, or disease.”
Moulds is set to appear at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Following the backlash, Mowbray Education Trust suspended Moulds during a formal investigation.
Now, the trust has revealed she has been dismissed, the BBC reports.
Paul Maddox, chief operating officer of Mowbray Education Trust, 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.”
Moulds was also dismissed as a volunteer team leader of the Cottesmore Pony Club. The club said the team “wholeheartedly condemn this behavior.”
Further, the Cottesmore Hunt told the BBC that the group “strongly disapprove of any such actions,” adding that it would “deal with it in an appropriate manner.”
This article was originally published on November 9, 2021. It was last updated on January 8, 2022 to include new information about the charges made against Moulds.