Liam Neeson Carriage Meme

I was watching an episode of The Tonight Show (on demand, I don’t stay up late enough to watch it live) and caught Liam Neeson as one of the guests. As a die-hard fan of Love Actually and someone who enjoyed the hell out of Taken, I was looking forward to hearing his Irish accent and maybe a witty quip or two with Jimmy Fallon.

Instead, I was chagrined to discover that Neeson is fighting hard against NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to ban the horse drawn carriage industry. He actually called the abuse claims that many of us have heard and made against the industry “bullshit.” And then (And then!) Jimmy Fallon supported him! You know, because tradition makes exploitation okay:

This isn’t the first time Neeson has taken to the airwaves to express his displeasure with de Blasio and animal rights groups. In late February, he visited The Daily Show and had it out with Jon Stewart. Neeson is friends with many of the carriage drivers. He says they “made the roads of New York” and that the horses are very well cared for, “treated like their children.”

Do I think that the horses are treated well? Here’s the thing: that doesn’t matter. Let me clarify: it absolutely matters if a horse is abused but even if the horses in Central Park are treated and cared for as well as Neeson and carriage industry supporters say (a big if, in my opinion), they miss the point. Horses are not here for us. They have their own interests and their purpose is not to carry tourists around a major metropolitan city – be it in the park or on the streets. Again, animals are here with us, not for us.

I wish Liam Neeson and Jimmy Fallon would keep that statement in mind the next time they rode a Central Park carriage, put on a pair of leather shoes, or bit into a pork chop.