An animals rights group has written to the headteachers of a town's school following an incident with a dead duck.

Last week The Guardian reported that a young teenage boy had been seen kicking a mallard to death in Waltham Abbey, in an account that was later challenged by Logan Hall.

Mr Hall suggested the boy had thrown a boot in only once the animal was dead, having been hit by a car.

Concerned by the boy's behaviour whether the duck was dead or alive, today People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote to Waltham Abbey's schools.

The letter, from media coordinator Jennifer White, read: "I’m writing from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation, which is dedicated to humane education – teaching children compassion and empathy for every living being – and offers free humane education materials to teachers.

"Studies have shown a link between cruelty to animals and violence towards humans: people who commit violent acts against humans often have a history of hurting animals.

"Therefore, it’s important that your pupils learn why cruelty to animals is wrong."

Ms White offered to send the schools educational resources designed to "teach students kindness and compassion towards animals."

Elisa Allen, PETA director, added: "PETA wants to prevent any further acts of cruelty.

"Instilling empathy in children and teaching them to respect others, human and non-human, is vital.

"The safety of the whole community depends on it."