IRISH actor Liam Neeson has slammed a move to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York as "appalling".
The 'Taken' star has come out in support of an estimated 300 families, who he said will be put "on the breadline" if the decision to replace the carriages with electric antique cars goes ahead.
Mr Neeson, who lives near the Big Apple with his two sons, was responding to a promise by New York mayor Bill de Blasio to "quickly and aggressively" ban horse-drawn carriages, claiming they are inhumane.
In a letter to Mr De Blasio, who sparked controversy over his decision to boycott the city's St Patrick's Day parade due to its exclusion of gay groups, Mr Neeson said: "I have heard you declaring it inhumane and not fitting with the fabric of our city. I am compelled to strongly challenge these declarations."
Mr Neeson said that despite claims made by animal rights activists in the city, the horses were well cared for, and "perhaps most importantly of all, have a job in one of the world's most bucolic settings, Central Park".
He speculated that efforts to ban the historic carriages, which have been a feature of the famous Central Park since 1858, were merely attempts at a valuable "land grab" by developers seeking to take ownership of the horse stables located on the city's west side.