Liam Neeson Wants to Stop Ban on Horse Drawn Carriages, But We Want to Stop Neeson
His latest film, Non Stop, has been killing box office sales, even as controversy ensues over ads for the film continuing to play while the Malaysian plane is still missing. However, this isn't the only controversy action star Liam Neeson is knee-deep in. Liam Neeson does not support banning horse drawn carriages in Central Park, as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has suggested.
The mayor believes the industry of horses toting tourists in carriages is outdated and inhumane, but the 61-year-old actor disagrees. "This is an industry that’s been here since before Abraham Lincoln’s first inauguration. These horses are well cared for.” Neeson said to CBS.
He told ABC news, "I know these guys. In the park for over 20 years, I see the joy that these tourists get. I'm firm about the fact that we have to make this move."
But the mayor, along with the voting majority of New York City, doesn't buy it. Throughout his campaign, De Blasio said he would ban the carriages if he was elected. And he's planning on following through with his promise:
I respect Liam Neeson a lot. I'm a big fan of his work. But the fact is I've put forward a plan and a vision, and the people ratified it in a election, and that's what mattered most," de Blasio said Saturday. "What we do want to do, and we've said this repeatedly, is work with the carriage operators to find a good path for them individually going forward. Other job opportunities for them. They would get first dibs on those job opportunities. We have to put together all the pieces.
And an Irish animal rights group, ARAN, slammed the Irish actor for his words, saying: “He may be able to act and string lines together, but when it comes to understanding the suffering horses endure in all weather extremes often in suffocating traffic fumes in the carriage trade, sadly Mr Neeson has been a flop,” spokesman John Carmody said.
Neeson claims De Blasio's decision to cut the horse carriage industry has been made with false information, even going as far as to call it "criminal." But considering it has been proven to be an inhumane and cruel industry for horses, who is the real criminal here? And what are Neeson's motives behind his desperate plea?
I am likely one of the biggest Liam Neeson fans you will find. His transformation from dramatic star to action hero/leading man was flawless, and his films — Taken, The Chronicles of Narnia, Batman Begins — rank in my favorite films of all time. But, respect for the man as an actor should not determine where our allegiance on issues involving cruelty lie. The livlihood of actual living, breathing animals are at stake here, and the mayor's plan to replace horses with electric cars would not only be more ethical, but it wouldn't deprive the industry of any jobs.
Neeson said that the business of horse drawn carriages has been alive since before Lincoln's inauguration. We often associate tradition with good moral judgement, but since when does tradition equate to something morally sound? We have traditions in American history that we'd all love to forget, and horse drawn carriages, especially with the modern convenience of non-animal driven transportation, will be a "tradition" frowned upon by generations to come.
So we urge Neeson to think about what he's using his power — his celebrity — for. Surely there are more noble causes to devote his time to. Because keeping horse drawn carriages in business isn't a matter of opinion, it's a matter of ethics. And just like Raj al Ghul, Neeson's Batman Begins character says: "if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal... then you become something else entirely." Amen.