Actor Liam Neeson is not "taken" with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's idea of banning horse-drawn carriages.
The new mayor, a progressive Democrat, has vowed to get rid of the iconic Central Park horse carriages becasuse they aren't humane. As The Inquisitr has previously reported, De Blasio says that he is going to work with the owners of the horse- drawn carriages to come up with alternative vehicles to use to bring tourists on scenic visits of Central Park, but that will not include live animals. The mayor and various animal rights activists have long said that it is completely inhumane to force horses to walk on dangerous Manhattan streets. They say with the noise and the cars that the horses are constantly at risk for injury and stress.
Neeson told the New York Post, however, that the proposed ban on carriage horses should be reigned in:
It's criminal! This is an iconic, historic part of New York. The horses are incredibly well-treated. They're regulated up the wazoo. They get five weeks' holiday every year. Tourists love them."Insisting that the horses are happy and are very unlikely to find adoptive homes if the carriage business goes under, Neeson, among others, speculated that this is less about animal rights and more about a land grab of the horse stables on the west side of Manhattan. "I think it's about real estate."
As far as the celebrities who have jumped on de Blasio's bandwagon on this issue, the Taken star said "Some of these celebrities are ill-informed. They should visit the stables and see how comfortable the horses are, and talk to the drivers."
As Neeson alluded to, crony capitalism (or crap-italism perhaps?) may be the real, behind-the-scenes motivation for de Blasio's efforts to ban horse-drawn carriages in Central Park. As The Wire explains,
"This proposed ban is nothing more than politics as usual. The plan to ban the horse-drawn carriages is being led by NYCLASS, an animal-rights group that has pushed against what they see as harsh treatment of the horses. NYCLASS was a major campaign ally of de Blasio, as earlier this year founder Stephen Nislick was a 'major financial backer' of NYC is Not for Sale, a political committee that ran 'Anybody But Quinn' TV ads during the mayoral primary. Those ads aided in de Blasio's surprise winning campaign against early mayoral favorite Christine Quinn."
Nislick is the former chief executive officer of Edison Properties which reportedly has multiple locations in the same neighborhood as the stables where the Central Park horses are housed. According to The American Spectator, "This apparent alliance between radical animal-rights activists and powerful real-estate interests may not be illegal, but the horse-and-carriage folks certainly view it as shady."
In 2009, Liam Neeson spoke in favor of horse-drawn carriages on the Daily Show:
[top image credit: Karen Seto]