A Horse of a Different Color

Colm McKeever of West Nyack, N.Y., talks about why he and other hansom cab drivers are opposed to Mayor Bill de Blasio's call to ban carriage horses from New York, ending a 155-year tradition (Image source: USATODAY.COM)

Colm McKeever of West Nyack, N.Y., talks about why he and other hansom cab drivers are opposed to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to ban carriage horses from New York, ending a 155-year tradition (Image source: USATODAY.COM)

Though you may or may not agree with Liam Neeson’s support for the horse carriages in Central Park, you have to admire the man’s persistence to speak his mind. In a world that has become so incredibly politically correct and environmentally aware it seems that people prefer the stranglehold of silence rather than risking the impact of speaking their minds.

I happen to agree with Neeson. I think those carriages make Central Park unique and dare I say quaint. OK, when the horses do their biz it is smelly, but 100 years ago this was our main form of transport. Imagine how smelly it was back then?

You see, I grew up on a farm. If you are vegan you might want to skip this paragraph entirely. Animals were worked or eaten. That’s how farms exist. You raised animals to either eat them, sell them, or work them. It sounds awful if you have not experienced farm life, but for people who grew up in the country this all makes sense. That nicely packaged filet mignon in your butcher’s display case at the grocery store, that had to come from somewhere. Someone had to feed it, raise it, and sell it to recoup money spent and make a profit. Same with the bacon, eggs, milk, and chicken thighs. My point being, life isn’t  sterile. And neither should it be.

The horses and carriages in Central Park add a distinct air to New York. Apart from the color and the history and the smell, which seems to bother Bill Maher greatly, it is a reminder that even in a fast paced city like New York, there is the opportunity to slow things down, take things at a jaunt instead of break-neck speed. In fact I think those horses and carriages are a heck of a lot nicer than the yellow taxis swerving last minute, weaving crazily through traffic and beeping their horns like crazy.

Now I like Maher, and agree with his opinions most of the time. But I think that his comment about not being able to look at Neeson or watch any of his films crossed a line. Is he suggesting we boycott someone because we differ in opinions with them? Yeah, he kinda is actually. And he sounds a lot like the right wing conservatives and tea partiers that he has a fondness for skewering. What’s wrong with hearing both sides of the story? Why suggest that Nesson’s opinion deserves a boycott of his work?

Liam Neeson at the stables where the Central Park horses are cared for (Image source: Critterfiles.)

Liam Neeson at the stables where the Central Park horses are cared for (Image source: Critterfiles.)

This is where speaking your mind becomes dangerous. This is why we have conspiracies of silence. This is when shut up and put up comes into play, and that is just plain wrong. Neeson is entitled to his opinion, so is Maher, but without attacking Neeson’s work, or encouraging a boycott. But using a difference of opinion in a debate that is articulate on one side and bullying on the other, well, that’s a horse of a different color.

Carriage horse owner Stephen Malone looks in on his horse Tucker in his stall at New York's Clinton Stables, Jan. 28, 2014. Time may be running out for the iconic horse carriages that carry tourists around New York City’s Central Park. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already declared his intention to shut down the industry, saying it is inhumane to keep horses in modern-day Manhattan. (AP Photo/Richard Drew Image source: Epochtimes.com)

Carriage horse owner Stephen Malone looks in on his horse Tucker in his stall at New York’s Clinton Stables, Jan. 28, 2014. Time may be running out for the iconic horse carriages that carry tourists around New York City’s Central Park. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has already declared his intention to shut down the industry, saying it is inhumane to keep horses in modern-day Manhattan. (AP Photo/Richard Drew Image source: Epochtimes.com)

I think it is a shame that the mayor of New York, Bill di Blasio, hasn’t visited the stables to test his theory that the horses are treated inhumanely. I think it is a shame that although the majority, that’s 66% of New Yorkers, support the carriage drivers, di Blasio just won’t listen. That’s not democracy at all.

Maybe di Blasio hasn’t heard of the annual ClipclopNYC, where public tours of the stables are offered. Take a look at the ClipclopNYC website, and tell me if the stables don’t look clean, and the horses well taken care of.

And for those who say that it is inhumane, then consider the fact that some police ride horses throughout the city, not just in New York, but there are mounted police all over the globe. Or, as Neeson points out in his short documentary below, where will it stop? Banning the Amish from driving their horse drawn carriages in Pennsylvania?

Is it cruel to feed and shelter and groom an animal that would otherwise exist entirely outdoors, exposed to the elements and having to find its own food? Those horses are better taken care of than some human beings living in New York!

I wish there was a petition that I could sign, all supporters could sign, because what DeBlasio and Maher are doing is a far cry from democracy. Guess what! There is a petition, click right HERE!

Liam Neeson narrates a short documentary that explains the connection between mankind and horses, the history of the horse carriage industry in New York, and asks for supporters to go to SaveNYCHorseCarriages.com to learn how you can help.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “A Horse of a Different Color

  1. Kudos to Liam Neeson and a big boo for Bill Maher. The horses and carriages are a major part of Central Park.. I miss Liam Neeson’s wife, she was a great addition to New York. As my mother says, Bill DiBlasio is an idiot, but that is another fairy tale.

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