Taylor Swift has canceled her controversial performance at Australia’s Melbourne Cup horse racing event following outcry from animal rights activists over the treatment of the horses.
Swift was scheduled to perform at the Victoria Racing Club on November 5th as the singer embarks on a promotional tour in support of her recent album Lover. However, the Victoria Racing Club announced Saturday that “a recent change to Taylor Swift’s Asian promotional tour means she will no longer be able to perform at this year’s Melbourne Cup.”
The cancellation comes after numerous animal rights groups, including Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses and PETA, called on Swift to say “#NupToTheCup,” CNN reports, with the organization also launching a petition to lobby the singer to withdraw from the Melbourne Cup.
“Taylor Swift has put money before compassion by agreeing to perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup. An event where at least 6 horses have been KILLED over the past 6 years,” the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses wrote on Facebook earlier this month.
“With such huge success already, she could easily afford to not only say NO, but use the opportunity to help the horses by speaking up against horse cruelty in the racing industry… If Taylor Swift cares at all about other animals the way she appears to care about cats, she will cancel her show and make a strong statement that animal abuse is unacceptable.”
While neither Swift nor the Melbourne Cup acknowledged the animal rights activists’ role in the gig’s cancellation, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses praised Swift’s decision Saturday.
“THANK YOU TAYLOR! We are absolutely delighted with the news,” they wrote on Facebook. “The pressure on Taylor Swift to cancel her performance was significant. Her fans did not want to see her supporting animal abuse. Whilst the reason being used by the racing industry is a scheduling mix up, it appears to us that she has responded to those calls.”
The organization continued, “We will be keeping a close eye out for whether another artist is announced to perform at the day which is widely becoming known as a national disgrace. No one should be supporting this event which depends on the abuse and suffering of horses.”
“Taylor Swift dumped the Melbourne Cup, and PETA couldn’t be happier,” PETA Press Outreach Manager Moira Colley said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “The event is riddled with horse breakdowns and death and is linked to the bloody horse-slaughter industry, which PETA most recently exposed in South Korea. None of this cruelty is consistent with the kind person we know Taylor to be.”