Evincing a sharp sense for New York City’s real problems, Bill de Blasio declared shortly before his inauguration that he would move quickly to eliminate the city’s iconic horse-drawn carriages. But the new mayor might have a Liam Neeson problem — that is, if the Irish-born actor stands up for his horse carriage-riding friends in his adopted city.
“We are going to get rid of horse carriages, period,” de Blasio said at a press conference two days before he officially became mayor, aligning himself with animal activists who believe the horse-drawn carriages that take New York City tourists around Central Park are inhumane.
De Blasio’s view stands in stark contrast to Neeson’s, who emphatically stood up for New York City’s horse-drawn carriage industry during an appearance on “The Daily Show” in 2009.
“I was in the stables today and many days over the past few years, I know some of these guys, and I just hate how they’re — the horse-drawn carriage industry is being attacked nowadays,” the “Taken” franchise star and former amateur boxer said, after host Jon Stewart noted that there are horse stables right behind his New York City studio.
“These animal activists,” Neeson continued contemptuously. “You know, ‘the horses are being treated cruelly because they are pulling a carriage around half a mile.’ I mean, these are the fittest, well-fed, best kept horses I’ve ever seen. I’m a horse rider and lover for many, many years.”
“[T]hey are having a good life,” he said. “Have you been in these stables? I would move into them tomorrow. Seriously.”
Stewart tried to push back, suggesting that the horses would probably prefer to run in an open field. But the now-61-year-old actor would have none of it.
“Jon, everybody thinks that. Everybody thinks cows in the field want to be running wild and so forth,” he said. “That’s bullshit, Jon. Horses don’t either. These [horses have] been trained for thousands of years. They come from Amish farms. They come into this industry. They work 9 hours a day. Sometimes, they have a holiday for months on these Amish farms.”
“They’ve been there for 100 years,” he concluded. “They are an iconic part of New York. They are an iconic part of Central Park.”
The Daily Caller reached out late Sunday night to Neeson’s publicist, Alan Nierob, to see if Neeson would have any comment on de Blasio’s anti-horse carriage agenda. Despite the late hour, Nierob responded instantly and almost certainly without consulting his client first: “He’s not available to comment.”
For now, Neeson’s voice appears to be absent from the debate over of the future of New York’s horse-drawn carriage industry, which could directly affect the number of smiles on little children’s faces New York City produces each year. But given Neeson’s seeming passion for the cause, de Blasio should not yet feel secure that he has avoided Neeson’s wrath completely.
WATCH: Liam Neeson on “The Daily Show”