An Irish animal rights group is unhappy with actor Liam Neeson’s support of the New York City tourist carriage trade.
Neeson has spoken publicly against plans by the city’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, to end the carriage trade. He undertook to take action should he be elected.
Supporters say the carriages are an iconic symbol of New York, while critics say it is dangerous and cruel to have horses plying busy inner city roads.
Ireland’s Animal Rights Action Network (ARAN) believes the Hollywood actor should stay out of the debate.
“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,” ARAN spokesman John Carmody said.
“The Irish public is commending Mayor de Blasio in his progressive efforts to retire this outdated industry in favor of a New York City that can hold its head up high with streets that do not harbor horse abuse.”
ARAN said the list of accidents involving horse-drawn carriages grew annually, and called the trade outdated.
Horses, it said, were made to toil in all weather extremes, dodge traffic, and pound the pavement all day long.
“These gentle animals suffer from respiratory ailments because they breathe in exhaust fumes, and they develop debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces,” ARAN said in a statement.
“In some cases, horses have even dropped dead from heatstroke after working in scorching summer heat and humidity.”