A proposed resurrection of a long-abolished diving horse show in Atlantic City has taken a dive, amid numerous animal cruelty complaints. The act was to send a horse and rider flying off a 40-foot platform into a 12-foot pool.
“I think it’s disgusting, and I think it’s cruelty to animals,” Nancy Beall, Atlantic City SPCA president, told local NBC TV reporters after the return of the diving horse act was announced. “It certainly can’t be safe for the animal.”
Beall declared her intent to file charges, if the diving horse act went forward at the seaside tourist location, bringing back a daredevil crowd attraction that vanished in the 1970s. The diving horse act reappeared briefly in 1993, according to the Washington Post, but was quickly shut down.
On February 14th, however, Anthony Catanaso, president of Steel Pier Associates, proclaimed the halting of the plan for the high-flying equestrian spectacle.
Animal welfare activists cried “Nay” over the diving horse act.
Immediately after Steel Pier revealed plans to bring back the historic stunt riding act as soon as summer 2012, New Jersey and national humane groups to protested the proposed practice.
It’s a gamble: Animal lovers decry Atlantic City diving horse plans.
An online petition appeared soon after the diving horse act was revealed, as part of a $100 million makeover of the Steel Pier site. Signatures totaled nearly 50,000 by Valentine’s Day.
“I will never visit Atlantic City if this is allowed to happen,” wrote Saundra McDavid, of Eagle, Idaho, on the petition site.
“It’s one thing to put your own life in danger as a thrill seeker, but to force an animal to be part of your insanity is just unconscionable,” added Jo Prince, of Rahway, New Jersey.
“I have no words to human beings that allow this,” said Polish-American supermodel and PETA activist Joanna Krupa (posting February 5th on her Facebook page). Krupa asked her fans to sign the petition to protest the diving horse act.
“There is plenty of summer fun to be had at the [Atlantic City] pier without harming these horses,” said animal lover Jennifer Mishler, of Jacksonville, Florida, who created a Facebook page called “Stop the Return of the Diving Horse Show to Atlantic City.”
Horse lovers came out on top, as the diving horse stunt act was shelved.
“We did it,” Mishler posted on the “Stop the Return” group page February 14th. “Thank you so much, everybody, for signing and sharing and contacting! Catanoso has announced that the diving horse shows are cancelled!”
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