Liam Neeson has quickly become one of the top action movie stars in Hollywood, so naturally, when he writes an op-ed piece in the New York Times, people take notice. He decided to write the piece to speak on behalf of the carriage horse industry in New York City, which has come under fire by mayor Bill de Blasio as an inhumane treatment of the animals and an outdated tradition, which he wants to replace with electric powered replicas of vintage cabs. Unlike many other actors these days, however, Neeson appears to be a pragmatic person who will evaluate a situation for himself and not espouse wild accusations about the treatment of modern farm animals.
Liam took the time to visit with the carriage horse owners, visited the stables where the animals are housed, and came his own conclusion that these animals are well-cared for. As an Irish farm-boy himself, he believes that “it has always been my experience, ALWAYS, that horses, much like humans, are at their happiest and healthiest when working.” So, he decided to increase the pressure on mayor de Blasio to come and see the horses and stables himself, which so far de Blasio has refused to do, despite his avid campaign to remove them from NYC. According to the article, horses having been pulling carriages in NYC for the past two centuries, likely longer. They have made an estimated 6 million trips in the past 30 years, and they maintain a remarkable safety record over their long history.
From my perspective, the carriage horse industry is one of the few ways New Yorkers can get a glimpse of a domesticated farm animal on a daily basis, and as we continue to see more and more people move into urban environments, the need for exposure to farm animals will grow even more severe. In a recent Fox News article, it appears that animal welfare activists have been picketing Neeson’s NYC home to harass him for his views on the industry. So far, Neeson has avoided the activists, but I respect his willingness to stand up for an NYC tradition that already appears to be highly regulated and gives city-dwellers a glimpse of working horses in their element.
Thank you Liam Neeson, for being an advocate for the New York City carriage horse industry, we need more celebrities like you who can appreciate the use of farm animals in modern environments!
According to a recent poll, only 28 percent of New Yorker’s support the mayor’s plan, but obviously this is a controversial issue. What are your thoughts on whether horses should continue to be used for NYC carriage rides?