Singer Taylor Swift has canceled her upcoming performance at Australia’s Melbourne Cup. She was scheduled to perform two songs at the November 5th event. The cancellation follows allegations of animal abuse at the popular horse race track. Six horses have died at the Melbourne Cup since 2013.
While representatives for the Cup said Swift canceled her appearance because of “changes to her Asian promo schedule” that made it “logistically impossible” for her to attend, the animal rights community is considering it a major victory.
“The pressure on Taylor Swift to cancel her performance was significant,” Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses spokeswoman, Kristin Leigh, said following the announcement. “Her fans did not want to see her supporting animal abuse.”
Horse Racing Cruelty
In an op-ed for the Guardian, one Melbourne-based fan urged the singer to cancel her appearance earlier this month.
“[If] you’re wanting to position yourself as an overtly political artist – one who wears a firm set of beliefs and, more than this, marches them into action – then you must reconsider your decision to perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup,” wrote Dejan Jotanovic.
The racing industry forces horses to race at “devastating” speeds, says Jotanovic. Jockeys whip the animals to force faster speed.
“This event feeds directly off the exploitation, injury and death of what it supposedly prizes: horses. Animal welfare organisations – Peta, RSPCA Australia and Animals Australia – have spoken openly about their disgust and disdain for how we, as a state, ritualise and celebrate this cruelty.”
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses’ director Elio Celotto says Swift’s cancellation was “excellent news.” Celotto told the Sydney Morning Herald “the real reason” she canceled “is that she’s realised her supporter base do not support animal cruelty.”
“We think she’s probably also an animal lover herself and did not want to be part of something that is fundamentally a cruel sport.”
Swift’s cancellation came just weeks after announcing a collaboration with vegan fashion designer Stella McCartney. The two fashioned a line of clothing, bags, and jackets in the theme of Swift’s newest album, “Lover.”