Thank Atlantic City Steel Pier for Canceling Horse Diving Act

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Originally Posted: February 26, 2012

Thank Atlantic City Steel Pier for Canceling Horse Diving Act

[Ed. Note: For backround, visit Stop the return of the diving horse act at Atlantic City's Steel Pier.]

FROM In Defense of Animals (IDA)


We encourage you to send a message of thanks to Mr. Catanoso for canceling the return of a horse-diving 'act' to the Pier. Let him know that you appreciate his receptivity to this sensitive issue.

Atlantic City Steel Pier
phone (866) 386-6659
[email protected]


When the Atlantic City Steel Pier redevelopment project announced on February 4, 2012 that it was bringing back the historic diving horse act as part of the $100 million renovation, people everywhere were shaking their heads in disbelief. The controversial act, which was a Steel Pier feature for many years, was closed down twice due to protests of animal abuse, the last time in 1993. The new plan called for reinstating the diving horse act by Memorial Day.

The act consisted of forcing the horses to climb up a 40 foot ladder and then dive into a 12 foot pool of water. Many people asked, and rightly so, was this not a giant step backwards to reintroduce such blatant animal cruelty?

The public outrage apparently paid off, because within ten days of the announcement of the return of the diving horses, Steel Pier president Anthony Catanoso issued a statement that the act was being called off.

Steel Pier Diving Horse Vintage Postcard

Mr. Catanoso’s reversal came after he initially defended the diving horse act as iconic and “wholesome family entertainment.” But the widespread disapproval spurred by the announcement caused him to reconsider his position.

In his February 14 statement to the Washington Post, Mr. Catanoso said, “We just felt that since Atlantic City is moving forward, we should move forward with it. We should create new memories for visitors instead of recreating old ones.”

We applaud Mr. Catanoso and the Steel Pier Associates for taking a hard look at this indefensible animal act, and concluding that no tradition can transcend the inhumane treatment of animals. Moving forward does indeed mean leaving animal cruelty behind. 

Thank you for everything you do for animals!