Animal rights groups claim credit for Taylor Swift cancelling her Melbourne Cup performance – but organisers insist it was simply a scheduling conflict

Animal rights groups are happy with Taylor Swift cancelling her Melbourne Cup performance. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)
  • Animal rights groups have thanked Taylor Swift for cancelling her planned Melbourne Cup performance.
  • The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses attributed the cancellation to the pressure Swift faced from animal rights activists.
  • However, Victoria Racing Club and Mushroom Events said the cancellation was due to a scheduling conflict with Swift’s promotional tour in Asia.

Animal rights groups are cheering after Taylor Swift cancelled her planned performance at this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Swift was scheduled to play two of her latest songs from her album Lover at the Flemington Racecourse on November 5. However, animal rights group, The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR), called for Swift to say #NuptotheCup due to the number of horse deaths that have occurred following the annual race.

The group began a petition to get Swift cancel her performance, which garnered 6,640 signatures.

“If she cares at all about other animals the way she appears to care about cats, she will cancel her show and use her voice to make a strong statement that animal abuse is unacceptable and say #NupToTheCup,” the petition description read.

Swift cancelled her performance on Saturday.

On Saturday 21 September, Victoria Racing Club (VRC) and Mushroom Events released a statement saying Swift won’t be able to perform at the Melbourne Cup due to a scheduling conflict with her promotional tour.

Michael Gudinski from Mushroom Events said in a statement, “Regrettably, Taylor is no longer able to make it to this year’s Melbourne Cup. Changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here. To all of Taylor’s fans, we hope to see Taylor in Australia in 2020.”

While CPR praised the move – taking to Facebook to say thank you to Swift – it claimed the cancellation was due to the pressure put on the singer by activists.

CPR Communications Director Kristin Leigh said in a statement, “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.”

Leigh added that Taylor would now “be much more aware of the cruel reality of horse racing than she was a few weeks ago”. “We are confident she has made this decision based on her love for animals and are very grateful to her for her cancellation.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also applauded Swift for her “compassionate decision” to cancel her performance.

PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice told Business Insider in an email, “Taylor Swift dumped the Melbourne Cup, and PETA couldn’t be happier.

“None of this cruelty is consistent with the kind person we know Taylor to be.”

Some fans on social media applauded Swift’s decision:

Other fans, however, were devastated after having spent money on flights and accommodation:

Rowville, Victoria resident Sam Siddiqui said she was devastated after spending $200 on accommodation and $300 on a new outfit for the performance, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. While Siddiqui was able to get her money back for the accommodation, she couldn’t return the outfit.

“I am really disappointed and shocked … In the last 13 years Taylor has only cancelled one other show,” told the SMH.

CPR said it will “keep a close eye” on whoever will be announced to perform on Melbourne Cup.

“No one should be supporting this event which depends on the abuse and suffering of horses,” Leigh said.

While no replacement has been announced as yet, VRC will be offering refunds for fans who purchased tickets on the belief they would be seeing Swift perform.

Victoria Racing Club CEO Neil Wilson said, “Obviously, this is disappointing for everyone. We understand how important the pre-Cup entertainment is and we look forward to providing an update shortly.”

Business Insider Australia has contacted Mushroom Events for comment.

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