The world has been waiting to find out where Liam Neeson falls on the whole carriage horse issue, and you can stop holding your breath now, world: the actor has spoken...and PETA isn't gonna like what he has to say. Last week a story ran in the Irish Echo regarding the New Yorker resident's public support of the Central Park carriage industry, which came out in a letter to the City Council.
Neeson stated in the open letter that there's been a "coordinated attempt by animal activists and a certain Queens council member to ban the industry from the city." Indeed, Tony Avella's bill to put an end to carriage horses is being introduced at a public hearing on January 30th (at the same time the industry will also propose their first fare increase in 19 years). Neeson (who didn't seem at all like an animal cruelty supporter in that Love, Actually movie) continued his letter as follows:
As a horse lover and rider, I am deeply disturbed by the unnecessary and misguided political and extreme rhetoric against the horse-drawn carriage industry and feel obliged to counter this action.
The horse-drawn carriage business is an iconic part of this city, employing hundreds of dedicated, hard-working men and women, caring for well-bred, well-trained horses and attracting tourists to New York City for over 100 years.
As a proud New York resident, I have personally enjoyed the beauty of Central Park on a daily basis for many years, and these horses are an undeniable integral part of that experience. The notion that a well-nourished horse pulling a carriage through Central Park is considered cruelty may fit in with animal activists' extremist view, but not with the rest of us. Surely we have a responsibility to protect commerce, especially one with such history, and one I truly feel helps define this city. May pragmatism prevail.