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.”
Digitaljournal.com 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.