City dweller Liam Neeson, who also happens to be a respected actor, has stepped up to defend the iconic horse-drawn carriages in New York City by narrating a lightly-funded but well-made YouTube video titled “Save New York Horse Carriages.” What, you might ask, has that to do with foxhunters who mostly choose to live far from the bustling city, in the quiet countryside, where horses are part of the everyday scene?
As editor of Foxhunting Life, I try to be ever watchful that my personal feelings don’t overly influence the content of this website, the mission of which is to inform and entertain our readers about foxhunting. At times, though, at least in my mind, the borders blur between foxhunting and certain issues of the day.
The New York City carriage horse controversy is one such issue. Just this year, FHL has published four news stories on the subject,* and early this month I devoted my Blog to a related commentary.**
While our statistics inform us that these articles have been read by numerous people, only one reader—a lady in Ireland who is completely mystified by the mind-set of those opposing the carriages—has yet troubled to write a Comment after any of them. The silence notwithstanding, I cannot conclude that the NYC carriage horse issue doesn’t relate to us, our passion for horses and hounds, the natural world, and the foxhunting life.
If we love foxhunting and are willing to defend our sport against those who would take it away from us, we cannot stand mute and allow our relationships with the horse and the other animals we love be separated from our lives piece by piece (carriage horse, racehorse, hunt horse, trail horse), specie by specie (horse, hound, dog, cat), and location by location (city, town, farm). We’re all connected.
The least we can do is communicate with our fellow citizens about these well-funded campaigns masquerading as animal welfare. The animal rights activists are few in number but have an inordinately loud voice. We who actually live, play, and work with animals are also relatively few in number, and we need to ratchet up the volume of our collective voice. The great majority of citizens have no preconceived opinions of who’s right and who’s wrong. They can only form their opinions based upon what they read and what they hear.
The default setting is the radical point of view—the loudest, best funded, and most persistent voice. We have to make the effort to check the alternate box and allow our voice to be heard as well. Liam Neeson has done just that for the carriage drivers, but the film has had only 9,300 views so far. Have a look yourself, then share it with friends—especially New Yorkers!
Posted May 28, 2014
*“NYC Mayor Vows to Banish Horse Carriages,” “NYC Mayor’s Horse Carriage Ban Faces Opposition,” “Opposition to NYC Horse Carriage ban Is Building,” and “FBI Probe Links Animal Rights Threat to NYC Horse Carriage Issue.”