Actor Liam Neeson is causing quite the stir over an op-ed piece he wrote for the New York Times, praising the city’s horse carriage program. The piece, entitled “Carriages Belong in Central Park” provides a glimpse into the sort of nostalgia that glamorizes the horrors of the past, meant to elicit that dreamy “good old day” sentiment. However, it is clear that Neeson’s charm was unable to mask the truth behind the abuse of the horses forced to pull these carriages.

In response to the piece, about 50 protesters gathered in front of Neeson’s home, holding signs reading “Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Animal Cruelty” and “Worked to Death” featuring images of worn out horses. In this dramatic unfolding story, Neeson has situated himself as the anti-hero to the vocally progressive new Mayor, Bill DeBlasio.

While running for office, DeBlasio promised to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric vintage style cars. This move nods to the historic significance of the vehicles that leisurely transport tourists around Central Park and effectively remove the inhumane practice of exposing horses to pollution, traffic, and vehicle collisions.

In the article, Neeson claims that in his own experience, “horses, much like humans, are at their happiest and healthiest when working.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any living creature would be considered “happy” working at a job where they were constantly dehydrated, put at risk of overheating from standing on hot asphalt all day, and forced to stand in their own waste during their time off.

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