Liam Neeson opposes the proposed horse carriage ban which is supported by many celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Lea Michele, and Miley Cyrus. He hosted a tour for City Council members at the Clinton Park Stables to show his support for the carriage industry.
The "Non-Stop" actor invited Mayor de Blasio and 51 council members to show them how well-cared the horses were, but the Mayor didn't show up. "He should have manned up and come," the Hollywood star blasted. "I'm disappointed he's not here."
According to Neeson, he has been walking around Central Park admiring the horses for 20 years. New York Times reports he also has a personal connection to the drivers, many of whom are Irish like him. Also, the wife of one driver has worked as a nanny for his children.
"It's a connection with our past, it's a connection with our history," he explained why horse carriage should continue on. "And it has to be said - the great white elephant in the room, four prime locations on the West Side of New York that realtors must be salivating to get their hands on."
The "Taken" actor also criticized the Mayor's plan to replace the carriage with electric car. "The mayor wants to replace them with electric cars. That's exactly what New York needs, more cars. This experiment has been tried with electric cars in San Francisco - failed abysmally," he said.
Animal rights group, NYCLASS, said the stables' conditions weren't the only reason to ban the carriage business, "It's inhumanity of horses working in dangerous midtown traffic. Horses are easily spooked, and forcing them to work in loud, congested Lincoln Tunnel traffic is cruel and unsafe."
The Mayor himself explained why he was absent from the tour, "The reason I want to visit the stables and will do it when the schedule allows is because we want to work with the folks who operate those horse carriages and get them new opportunities in other types of related work."
But the supporters of the industry reminded their opponents that the retired horses that would be sent away to rescue farms could end up in the slaughterhouse due to the high costs of keeping them in the sanctuaries. "If there are legitimate concerns regarding the safety of the animals, then let's bring them out and have a conversation about a compromise plan," said one of them, Republican Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio of Staten Island.