Return of diving horse act on Atlantic City Steel Pier has animal rights activists saying 'nay' | State | -- Your State. Your News.

Jun 01st
  • Login
  • Create an account
  • Search
  • Local Business Deals

Return of diving horse act on Atlantic City Steel Pier has animal rights activists saying 'nay'

steelpierAC070111_optBY BOB HOLT

Part of the plan to revitalize Atlantic City includes a $100 million makeover and expansion of the Steel Pier, which is expected to become a year-round attraction.

The plan of the Steel Pier is to blend new attractions in with parts of the landmark’s history. An act made famous in the 1920s is scheduled to be ready by Memorial Day, but a lot of people are not happy about it.

According to The Press of Atlantic City, Steel Pier owner Anthony Catanoso plans to bring back the diving horse act, where a horse ridden by a stunt diver leaps from a platform 30 to 40 feet in the air into a 12-foot deep tank. Animal rights activists are promising to fight the return of the show.

The late comedian Alan King played at the Steel Pier, and according to Atlantic City Weekly, he said that it took cattle prods to convince the horses to climb up to the platform. Valerie Pringle, equine protection specialist at the Humane Society told CBS Philly, “And when they get to the top, it would be difficult for them to consider backing down. They feel they have no choice but to jump.”

Catanoso said, “I would never allow an act on the pier to be in any way inhumane or abusive to animals. There is no documentation of an animal ever being harmed in the 50 years they did it on Steel Pier — or certainly when we did it in 1993.” reports that the diving horse act ran at the Steel Pier from the early 1920s into the 1970s when animal rights groups stopped it. Horses reportedly dove from the platform four times a day, seven days a week.

An online petition to cancel the event has been started at It has over over 37,000 signatures at this writing.

Comments (3)
3 Tuesday, 14 February 2012 04:11
... and I'm not talking about diving horses.

"Abuse is in the eye of the beholder"?? Are you serious? Way to open up anything and everything we do in concert with any living thing to random, baseless accusations of abuse! Which, btw, I see going on quite enough, thank you.

I'm apalled at the inevitable outworkings and ramifications of such a ridiculous statement.

IS this activity, as it is planned to be conducted, genuinely abusive -- by expert determinations, defined parameters and objective fact? If so, then it should not be allowed.

But, "Bad Decision" -- if you think any halfway intelligent person is going to run right off and sign a petition promoting a ban based on you saying "well, that's how we see it, so that's how it's gonna be," then in my case, you're going to be decidedly disappointed. Or at least I fervently hope and PRAY you are.
2 Monday, 13 February 2012 14:43
Dianne K. Gates
As a horse owner, I am disgusted that anyone would find this in any way entertaining. Horses are fearful and flight animals by nature. I can't imagine that any horse would think this is something they should be doing.

It is cruelty and should be stopped before it even gets started.
1 Monday, 13 February 2012 11:27
J Zimmer
I guess "abuse" is in the eye of the beholder, and more than 37,000 people think Mr Catanoso is making a very bad decision in bringing back the Diving Horse. Spread the word, sign the petition and let your voices be heard.LOUD and CLEAR- in our eyes this is abusive.

Add your comment

Your name:

Follow/join us

Twitter: njnewsroom Linked In Group: 2483509