When actor Liam Neeson visited Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" this week, he had a lot more to talk about than his new film. The actor spent nearly half of his interview discussing the horse carriage ban in New York City, a promise made by new Mayor Bill de Blasio during his electoral race. Neeson has spoken out on the issue before, claiming that the animals would "go to the glue factory" after the ban went into effect -- a fact that has been vehemently denied by people involved.
In a discussion with Stewart, Neeson says that the horse carriage industry "made the roads of New York.... These guys treat these horses like their children."
It's less clear why Neeson feels so strongly about the issue, but Allie Feldman of NYCLASS, the main group fighting for the ban, says that the actor is close friend with some of the drivers. "I know a couple of guys," he adds on the show.
Despite Neeson's claims, the horses are likely destined for happier homes once the ban goes into effect, as The Dodo reported last month.
The truth: It's impossible to believe that any of the NYC carriage horses will not be adopted. Yes, the horses will have to find new homes outside the city, but no, they will not "go to the glue factory" (a practice that actually doesn't happen very often now, thanks to the rise of synthetic glues). Allie Feldman, Executive Director of NYClass, an animal advocacy non-profit that led the campaign for a ban on horse carriages, said that several organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and her own, are dedicated to providing homes for the retired horses.
"It does not seem to be a particularly fulfilling life for an animal," says Stewart toward the end of the awkward interview, which concluded after with the two men mock-fighting.
The ban is still expected to go through, though it's unclear exactly when. "We are exploring options to determine the smoothest, most fair and equitable way of transitioning out the use of horse carriages," said Feldman. We respect the legislative process, and look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito to get the horses off the streets."