Liam Neeson targeted by horse-carriage foes

Dozens of animal rights activists protest outside actor Dozens of animal rights activists protest outside actor Liam Neeson's Manhattan home on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in opposition to his support for New York's horse-drawn carriages. Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

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The battlefront in New York City's horse-carriage wars shifted Saturday to the sidewalk outside actor Liam Neeson's Upper West Side condo, where animal activists picketed over his efforts to rally support for the industry.

"Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!" read one sign.

A costumed woman dressed as a talking horse paced near the doors to the residential tower on West 67th Street.

The Irish actor has taken on a role as a spokesman for the Central Park horse drivers and an outspoken foe of Mayor Bill de Blasio's promised but as yet undelivered ban on the carriages.

"Liam Neeson has abused his stature as a celebrity to promote lies among the general public," said Allie Feldman, head of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, or NYCLASS, a leading horse-drawn-carriage opponent. "Keep in mind, he is the only celebrity to ever support the abusive carriage-horse industry."

Neeson couldn't be reached for comment. There were no sightings of the 61-year-old actor, and it was not known whether he was in his apartment while the 50 or so activists led by NYCLASS and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals picketed outside.

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The activists say the horses are ill-treated and the carriages dangerous to city streets -- charges the industry denies.

Last week, NYCLASS unveiled an eCarriage, which is modeled after turn-of-the-century cars, that they say can replace the horse-drawn variety. The horse operators dispute that there is a market for vintage car rides.

As the activists picketed yesterday, a handful of foes walked up and verbally sparred with them.

"These horses are beautifully cared for!" said Nick Bacon.

"I don't really think so!" answered Diane Cohen.

"They're well fed; they're well regulated!" Bacon said.

"People have to be progressive and move on . . ." Cohen said, before Bacon cut her off: "Madam, those horses are doing what they've been bred for for thousands of years. "

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