More celebrities are choosing sides in the debate over carriage horses in New York City.
Jillian Michaels, a trainer who appears on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" weight-loss competition, joined an anti-carriage rally on the steps of City Hall on Monday. The rally was sponsored by the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Michaels says she feels that it's inhumane to make the animals work in Central Park and on Manhattan's streets.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to ban the carriages and replace them with vintage-looking electric cars. But he may not have enough votes in the City Council to pass a law.
Alec Baldwin, Pink and Lea Michele also support the ban.
Actor Liam Neeson has been the most vocal celebrity wanting to keep the carriages.
Most New Yorkers agree with Liam Neeson, as The Christian Science Monitor reported: "Like his tax-the-rich plan to fund universal pre-K, however, his efforts to replace the city’s iconic horse-drawn carriages with electric vintage cars has lurched, sputtered, and backfired. Some 60 percent of both men and women registered to vote in the city have cried “Whoa!” to the mayor’s plans, according to a January Quinnipiac poll."
The mayor hopes most of the 300 current carriage drivers will warm up to these brass-era replicas, commissioned by the group spearheading the horse carriage ban, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets (known as NYClass). The organization was part of an animal rights coalition that gave $1.3 million to de Blasio and other carriage ban advocates on the city council.
But instead of galvanizing support for the ban, the unveiling of the Horseless eCarriage prompted the city’s newspapers to urge the mayor to drop his quest.
“While there is no lack of animal-welfare problems in the city – abused pets, feral cats, rats, Asian long-horned beetles, geese at the airports – New York’s well-treated, well-regulated carriage horses are not among them,” wrote The New York Times editorial board last week.