This page has been updated as the jury’s verdict has come in: she has been acquitted. Her post-trial statement is on video at the base of the article. She said that the damage caused by a “trial by social media” is “irreversible” and that she received hand-delivered death threats because of the incident.
NEWS AND VIEWS: You may remember the story about which I wrote a post not that long ago concerning a primary school teacher who is also a foxhunter. After a foxhunting hunt with the Cottesmore Hunt, Sarah Moulds, 39, was “seen grabbing the lead rope, kicking the horse and is seen landing blows to the horse’s face several times. She said that she had left two ponies with two children on the grass and that the pony had run into the road with the children holding the rope.” The words are those of the prosecution at Sarah Moulds’ trial. Moulds has been described as a “pony puncher”.
The horse’s name is Bruce. Bruce went into the road and Sarah Moulds caught him. She hit him around the face. She didn’t know she was being filmed by an anti-hunt group who took their video to the RSPCA. The RSPCA prosecuted her under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 on the basis that she caused Bruce unnecessary suffering by kicking and hitting.
She denies two offences under the Act. She justifies her actions because, “To me, it was all one telling off. If I had not chastised him and he had continued to behave in this manner, it would not have been appropriate for him to be handled by children. I disagree that it was unnecessary and I also disagree that he suffered.”
Dr. Suzanne Green, a veterinarian who examined the film footage and was at court as an expert witness for the prosecution said that Moulds’ actions were “not proportionate, not appropriate and not in response to anything. By physically kicking a horse that hard, it is obviously inciting fear into that horse as it is an unpleasant experience.”
In other words, and this is my interpretation, the defendant argues that she had to chastise this horse because he was behaving badly and he is a pony who is ridden by children. He had to be taught a lesson. I guess that she thought she was training the horse to behave better in order to help protect the children.
But the prosecution argue that she slapped the horse at least four times in the face and she kicked the horse. The prosecution say that her actions were disproportionate and caused suffering to the horse.
The defendant denies causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and not taking reasonable steps to protect the animal from pain, suffering, injury or disease and the trial continues.
My thoughts for what they are worth
She was acquitted which is all fair and well. Good for her. But I believe that she is guilty of a crime and that she should have been convicted of animal abuse. It looks that way to me and to a lot of other people. She must have lost her temper with the pony and hit him and kicked him. It’s as simple as that. Perhaps it might be fair to say that justice has been done for animal advocates because, as she said, she has suffered trial by social media and been found guilty online and her life has been turned upside down so perhaps that is enough.
The link below is to an earlier article about Sarah Moulds.