NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Animal rights activists who want to end horse-drawn carriage rides protested outside actor Liam Neeson’s New York City home on Saturday.
The protest came following Neeson’s comments in favor of keeping the carriage rides.
Neeson didn’t appear Saturday as about 50 demonstrators filled the sidewalk in front of his Manhattan apartment building. They held signs with such slogans as: “Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!”
The protesters argue it’s inhumane for the horses to be subjected to traffic, pollution and possible accidents.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to ban the horse-drawn carriages and replace them with electric vintage-style cars, commissioned by a group called NYCLASS.
De Blasio wanted to ban the horses from Manhattan’s streets and Central Park during his first week in office.
But in a Google Hangout video chat last week, the mayor said he now expects the City Council to ban the practice by year’s end.
“A horse in the middle of the streets of Midtown doesn’t belong,” he said. “I think a humane society doesn’t do that to animals and we have an alternative where we’ll have an opportunity for tourists to have a similar experience but without horses being a part of it,” the mayor said.
Carriage-horse operators and allies have loudly opposed the mayor’s plan.
Operators argue banning the horses will cost the city jobs and deprive New York of one of its iconic industries.
In February, Neeson said he was “a little bit pissed off” at de Blasio for wanting to shut down the horse-drawn carriage industry.
The “Non-Stop” star made the comment during an appearance on “The Daily Show.” The actor complained to host Jon Stewart that critics have put out false information about how the horses are treated. He said the carriage drivers treat the horses like their own children.
The City Council has not yet introduced the legislation.
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