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NYC Carriage Horses: Dry Water Trough in Central Park to be Filled—Finally!

Activists won a small but very important victory for New York City carriage horses this week by flooding the offices of the Central Park Conservancy and City politicians with letters and e-mails demanding that the dry water trough for horses in Central Park be kept filled with water.

Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, sent out an Alert on December 30, Carriage Horses Continue to be Deprived of Water.

This is what she described:

There are two water troughs for the horses in Central Park. One near Sixth Avenue that works - and one near Fifth Avenue that is turned off in the cold months.

Presently, it is bone dry and used as a trash receptacle.

The Central Park Conservancy is responsible for the management of day-to-day activities in Central Park (New York City) - including making sure the water troughs for the horses are kept clean and in working order.

They fail miserably in this task and they need to be held accountable for their failure to take action. They have been asked to solve this problem for over one year but have both ignored us and then put us off.

Money should not be a problem. They are a wealthy not-for-profit organization. According to the Better Business Bureau, they had $13,737,000 income in excess of expenses for 2010.

What adds insult to injury is that this trough was donated to the ASPCA many years ago and is engraved with an inscription. But the ASPCA turns its head to this suffering while they continue to ask you for donations.


On January 6, Elizabeth sent out this notice to advocates:

This is an excerpt from the response from the Central Park Conservancy:

“As the Conservancy looks ahead to capital work in Grand Army Plaza later this year, however, we are exploring the option of separating the Fifth Avenue water trough's plumbing from the larger irrigation system so that it may operate independently.

“In addition, representatives of the Horse Carriage Association have agreed to fill the Fifth Avenue trough up manually this winter.”


Thanks so much to all of you who wrote letters. It made a difference!

“As a result of your email, we met with Horse Carriage Association representatives very recently; we expect water to be available in that trough in the next day or so.

Please keep us updated if you ever pass the trough and observe that it does not have water in it.

Elizabeth is asking all NYC members of THE COALITION AND EVERYONE IN THE CITY WHO CARES to monitor the trough and make sure that the horses have water.

Elizabeth told on January 11,

"While I am grateful to the Central Park Conservancy for finally seeing the urgency of this request – to provide water to the horses at this site - I can’t help but be astounded that it took me over one year of phone calls and e-mails, which culminated in a grass roots campaign, to have them pay attention.

“Why couldn’t they do the right thing up front? After all, this water trough does fall under their management responsibilities.

Until the administration sees the wisdom of shutting down this inhumane, abusive and unsafe carriage trade--which is nothing more than a side show--and retiring the horses to safety – at least let’s make the horses' lives a bit more bearable and treat them with respect.”

To see the dry, trash-filled water trough, click on this link to the newsletter from last week.



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