by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes.

A few days ago, we heard the news that Atlantic City Steel Pier plans to reopen their diving horse show this summer. We aren’t too happy, to say the least.

The diving horse events were stopped in the 1970’s with a brief return in the 90’s, but now Steel Pier President Anthony Catanoso plans to reopen the ridiculous and cruel shows by this summer. If you’re wondering what these events are all about – riders mount horses and ride them up a 40 foot pier and then plunge into the 12ft of water below. Yes, seriously.

According to NBC 10 Philadelphia, Catanoso plans to have the events up and running by Memorial Day weekend, but animal advocates are speaking out. “I think it’s disgusting and I think it’s cruelty to animals,” Atlantic County SPCA president Nancy Beall said to NBC 10 Philadelphia. After reading Ali Berman’s story here on Ecorazzi, I started a petition on and in just two days over 6,000 people from all over the world have signed in opposition to Steel Pier’s plans.

Celeb animal advocates are throwing their support behind the campaign too. Today, model and animal activist Joanna Krupa shared the petition on her Facebook page, saying “I have no words to human beings that allow this. Please sign the petition.” It has also been tweeted by Running Russell Simmons star and animal activist Simone Reyes, vegan fashion designer John Bartlett, models turned animal activists the Barbi twins, and Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House.

It’s amazing how quickly support has built up. A huge boost of support came from Bob Timmons, known as the “Artist for the Ocean,” who uses his art and campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of ocean conservation and protecting ocean life. Timmons created a Facebook event page for the petition and sent out invites to his network of support, and over 700 people have joined.

Many of the petition signers have also said they refuse to go to Atlantic City if these events reopen. It seems animal cruelty is not everyone’s idea of summer fun.

You can add your signature to the petition here.

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • Guest

    A horse being forced off a 40ft. Pier/cliff into 12ft of water-should be pretty obvious the dangers. This is an unnatural activity for a horse, and usually mean death in the wild.

  • Alia S.

    Anyone with half a brain can see that it is cruel…how would you like it if every single day of your life, multiple times a day, you were forced to climb high up in the air on to a platform that collapsed so that you plummeted down head first into a small pool while little kids screamed? Do you think horses enjoy doing such things?

  • Cathleen Doyle

    I signed and left a response earlier. I am the sponsor of the bills to both stop the tripping
    of horses for entertainment or sport and also the sponsor of the bill to stop the slaughter of CA horses for human consumption. This is an issue which does not have two sides.
    Cathleen Doyle, California Equine Council, Save the Horses and HoofPAC

  • keena

    Well, I think they’re counting on readers to use common sense…

  • Hidesertgirl

    Anthony Catanoso, president of Steel Pier Associates, disagrees and told CBS News, “I would never allow an act on the pier to be in any way inhumane or abusive to animals. The fact of the matter is, the horses are not forced to do it. They are never harmed. 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.” Digital Journal by Kim Hartman, Feb. 6, 2012

    There is one known case of a diving horse dying in action. Lightning, Sonora’s beloved diving horse, was practice-diving riderless at a tower on a pier. The show people wanted to see if the show could be done successfully into the ocean. Lightning jumped beautifully, then became confused and swam out toward sea. She became tired gave up, and went under. Lifeguards caught up to her and buoyed her up. She was brought back to shore, but couldn’t be resuscitated.?