Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for not showing up Sunday at Clinton Park Stables where Neeson invited him and the New York City Council to get a better grasp of the horse carriage industry the mayor is attempting to shut down.
The mayor has announced that he wants to replace the downtown horses and carriages with electric cars, satisfying animal activist groups like NYCLASS who supported his mayoral campaign.
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"He should have manned up and come," Neeson, who is currently starring in "Non-Stop," told the New York Daily News.
"I'm disappointed he's not here."
Neeson said that activists' claims of poor conditions at the stables and poor treatment of the horses are unfounded, and he believes the issue has to do more with real estate opportunities than how animals are treated.
"These horses are well cared for," Neeson told the Daily News during his tour of the Clinton Park Stables, where he was joined by a dozen council members. "It's a connection with our past, it's a connection with our history. And it has to be said — the great white elephant in the room, four prime locations on the West Side of New York that realtors must be salivating to get their hands on."
NYCLASS claims New York City has the greatest number of horse-carriages in the country and downtown is a poor location for the animals.
"(The) 220 horses (68 medallions) routinely work at least 9 hours a day, pulling a vehicle that weighs hundreds of pounds, on hard pavement, while breathing exhaust from cars, buses and taxis," NYCLASS said in a statement.
"Unaccustomed to the urban environment, horses can be 'spooked' easily and cause accidents that inflict great damage on vehicles, drivers and most often, the horses themselves. There were more than 18 accidents in the past two years alone. At the end of the day the horses return to their tiny stalls in stables on the far West side of the city, or as Jon Stewart once called it, 'The sad-eyed horse carriage district, '" the statement added.
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De Blasio promised in February he would visit the stables
but told the New York Daily News he will move forward on banning the horse carriages.
"I'm firm about the fact that we have to make this move," De Blasio said.
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