Animal rights groups call for Todd's knighthood to be revoked

Source: 1News

Animal rights groups are calling for the removal of Sir Mark Todd's titles after a video surfaced of him hitting a horse with a stick.

Sir Mark came under fire on Sunday after footage showed him striking a horse 10 times with a stick while it was afraid to enter a water obstacle during training.

The video is understood to be two years old but surfaced recently on popular social app TikTok.

While Sir Mark has apologised for the incident, animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] and Save Animals From Exploitation [SAFE] are calling for his titles to be stripped.

"We are calling on the International Olympic Committee to remove all equestrian events from the games," PETA UK said on Twitter.

"Sir Mark Todd must face the fullest extent of the law, have his CBE revoked, and be expelled from New Zealand's Sports Hall of Fame.

"There is no excuse for animal abuse."

SAFE chief executive Debra Ashton had the same feelings.

"To retain Sir Mark Todd’s title is an insult to others who have earned it," Ashton said.

"Take it away."

Sir Mark was knighted in 2013 for services to equestrian sport, having won individual golds at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, the Badminton Horse Trials on four occasions, and the Burghley Horse Trials five times.

Government guidelines suggest Sir Mark won't be stripped of his status as honours are only revoked usually for serious crimes where at least three months imprisonment is involved.

The British Horseracing Authority did say however they will be investigating the matter.

“The footage seen this weekend of Sir Mark Todd hitting a horse with a branch has rightly caused anger and upset within the equestrian community and beyond,” the authority said in a statement on Monday.

“His behaviour, for which he has apologised, fell a long way short of the standards of care we expect of licensed individuals and that we know is provided to the overwhelming majority of horses in training in Britain every day. The BHA is looking into the incident.”