Swift a Melbourne Cup scratch as animal lovers win big

People | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 23 Sep 2019

Pop superstar Taylor Swift has pulled out of a performance at the Melbourne Cup, with animal rights activists taking credit after a campaign to highlight cruelty to racehorses.

The Grammy Award winner was to be the headline act for what is touted as "the race that stops a nation" in November and was due to sing two songs from her latest hit album, Lover.

But it sparked a backlash on social media and a push by the Campaign for the Protection of Racehorses, which claimed that Swift had "put money before compassion" and was "endorsing animal abuse."

More than 6,500 people signed an online petition urging her to cancel.

But promoter Mushroom Events cited scheduling issues as the reason for 29-year-old Swift's no-show, claiming "changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here."

The Campaign for the Protection of Racehorses, however, continued to claim credit for the non-start by Swift before the November 5 cup meeting, saying: "The pressure on her to cancel her performance was significant.

"Her fans did not want to see her supporting animal abuse. While the reason being used by the racing industry is a scheduling mix-up it appears to us that she has responded to those calls."

Six horses have died at the Melbourne Cup since 2013, including one last year. That was when Irish five-year-old The CliffsofMoher was euthanized after suffering a fractured shoulder during a race that has been run on the first Tuesday of November since 1876.

Obviously, Swift pulling out "is disappointing for everyone," said Victoria Racing Club chief executive Neil Wilson.

"We understand how important the pre-cup entertainment is."

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