Jimmy Fallon is the latest celebrity to get sucked into the Great Carriage Horse Debate.
The Animal Rights Action Network, an Irish organization dedicated to ending animal abuse, called on “The Tonight Show” host to use his celebrity to “become a champion for compassion” and reconsider his support of the carriage horse trade, which the group called “an industry based on exploitation and inherent cruelty.” The group emailed the entreaty to “Tonight Show” producers Josh Lieb and Gavin Purcell on Wednesday but received no response, said John Carmody, its campaigns director.
In a March 6 “Tonight Show” interview with Liam Neeson, Fallon seemed to agree with the actor’s contention that the horses should remain a mainstay of New York City life “as long as they are being taken care of.” Neeson assured him they were.
Neeson, who supports the carriage horse industry and took City Council members on a tour of their West Side stables on Sunday, and Fallon appeared to ridicule Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal that electric cars were a suitable replacement for horse-drawn carriages. “That drove me crazy,” Fallon said. “I don’t want that at all. I’d rather just get humans to pull the carriages.”
A spokeswoman for “The Tonight Show” said the show had no comment on the organization’s request.
Pamela Anderson, Kathy Najimy, Lea Michele, Miley Cyrus, Russell Simmons and Alec Baldwin have all expressed support for de Blasio’s decision to ban horses from the city and replace the carriages with electric cars.
The animal rights group ended its letter by inviting Fallon to “visit the lovely Green Isle sometime.”