Teacher suspended following hunt horse abuse outrage
A teacher implicated in a distressing incident where a horse was kicked and punched during a local hunt meeting has now been suspended, it has emerged.
The RSPCA is investigating after a video was circulated on social media showing the animal being attacked by a woman associated with the Cottesmore Hunt.
She has not yet been officially named but is understood to be a teacher working at a school in the Melton borough.
A statement issued by Mowbray Education Trust, which manages a number of schools in the Melton area, this morning (Wednesday) reads: “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 at the centre of the claims is the mother of two young children, according to national newspaper reports, and is said to have fled from her home after receiving death threats.
The short film was posted on social media by Hertfordshire Hunt Saboteurs and was condemned as ‘horrific abuse’ by television wildlife presenter Chris Packham, who called for an urgent investigation.
The footage shows a horse running into the road before being forcibly restrained by a woman in riding clothes, who then kicks the animal in the chest before delivering several blows to its head and then being led into a horsebox.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said of the allegations: “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.”
Leicestershire Police said: “We have been made aware of a video on social media in relation to a report of animal cruelty.
“The RSPCA is leading on this investigation and Leicestershire Police will assist as required.”
Cottesmore Hunt, which organises trail hunts on land south of Melton, as well as in Rutland, said in a statement: “The chairman and masters want to make it quite clear that they strongly disapprove of any such actions and assure you that they take a matter such as this very seriously and will deal with it in an appropriate manner.”