By  Michelle Durham

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Owners of the Steel Pier in Atlantic City have announced that they are bringing back the diving horse act, but not everyone is happy about it.

Valerie Pringle, equine protection specialist at the Humane Society of the United States, explains why her organization is voicing such a strong objection about it.

“What would it take to get a horse to voluntarily climb those steep stairs?,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “And when they get to the top, it would be very difficult for them to even consider backing down.  It’s almost a situation where they feel they have no choice but to jump.”

But Steel Pier owner Anthony Catanoso says, “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.”

Catanoso hopes to have the show ready to go for Memorial Day crowds; Pringle is hoping they stay away.

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