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Liam Neeson campaigns to save NY's carriage horse industry

Liam Neeson opposes Mayor de Blasio's proposal to ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets.

“Non-Stop” star Liam Neeson is hoping to convince NY City Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop his campaign to ban carriage horses from the streets of Manhattan. The Irish-born actor noted that he “has a lot of friends who work as drivers.” A ban would likely put more than 300 people out of work.

“A beautiful industry it is. It’s a connection with the past. It’s a connection with our history,” he stated as he led a tour of the Clinton Park Stables on W. 52nd St., where 78 of the 156 carriage horses live in 8’ x 10’ stalls, yesterday. He was joined by at least 8 of the City Council’s 51 members. He also noted that the animals are “well cared for.”

Mayor de Blasio, who did not participate in Sunday’s tour, has proposed replacing the horse carriage with vintage-style electric vehicles that could carry tourists about and keep the drivers employed.

“I respect Liam Neeson a lot. I am a big fan of his work. But the fact is I put forward a plan and a vision and the people ratified it in the election, and that’s what matters,” he stated.

In addition, activists with New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (NYCLASS) issued their own statement in favor of the ban saying,” The issue is about the 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, as we have seen in so many accidents; horses getting hit by cars, collapsing and even dying on city streets. Why continue to subject horses to risky nose-to-tailpipe existence when there’s a gorgeous, cruelty-free alternative, the electric antique replica horseless carriage.”

In the meantime, the City Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-SouthShore) stated that while he has not made up his mind as yet, “Whenever you want to pass judgement on an industry and potentially put it out of business, you ought to expose yourself to both sides.” He also noted that the Council has yet to announce a date for voting on the matter.

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