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Animal activists target Liam Neeson over horse n’ buggy controversy

Actor Liam Neeson
Actor Liam Neeson

Animal activists staged a protest on April 19, 2014, outside of Liam Neeson's Upper West Side apartment building in New York City, supporting a ban on carriage horse rides through Central Park.

PETA, NYCLASS and other supporters picketed the actors efforts to rally support for the horse drawn industry.

"Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!" read one sign.

"Neeson has abused his stature as a celebrity to promote lies among the general public," said Allie Feldman, head of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, or NYCLASS, a leading horse-drawn-carriage opponent. "Keep in mind, he is the only celebrity to ever support the abusive carriage-horse industry."

The activists say the horses are ill-treated and the carriages dangerous to city streets -- charges the industry denies.

"These horses are beautifully cared for!" said Nick Bacon.

"I don't really think so!" answered Diane Cohen.

"They're well fed; they're well regulated!" Bacon said.

"People have to be progressive and move on . . ." Cohen said, before Bacon cut her off: "Madam, those horses are doing what they've been bred to do for thousands of years. "

Liam wrote a passionate editorial for the New York Times this week, lending his support to the famous New York carriage horses which provide rides for tourists around the Central Park area.

The actor wrote the piece after Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to ban the carriages and replace them with electric vintage-style cars. In his editorial Liam wrote "It has been my experience, always, that horses, much like humans, are at their happiest and healthiest when working".

He called the horse carriage trade a "humane industry that is well regulated by New York City's Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Consumer Affairs."

Neeson did not make an appearance during Saturday’s demonstration in addition to his publicist declining to comment on the situation.

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