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Taylor Swift cancels concert amid animal rights criticism

  • 21 September 2019
Taylor Swift performing at the 2019 MTV VMAs Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Animal rights groups urged Taylor Swift to boycott the Melbourne Cup

Taylor Swift has cancelled her performance at the Melbourne Cup horse racing event in Australia.

The Cup announced Swift as its headline act earlier this month, but cancelled on Saturday, citing scheduling issues.

The singer had been criticised by animal rights groups, who accused her of "endorsing animal abuse".

Six horses have died at the Cup since 2013, including one horse who was euthanised on the course last year after fracturing his shoulder.

The Cup's organisers have not confirmed who will replace Swift as the headline act on 5 November.

Why did Taylor Swift cancel?

On Saturday, Mushroom Events said in a statement that "changes to [Swift's] Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here" for the Cup.

But the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, the group that led calls for a boycott, believes Swift cancelled as a result of their campaign.

In a petition posted last week, the group said the singer was "either completely unaware of the cruel reality of horse racing or she has put money before compassion by agreeing to perform" at the races.

"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," they added.

Victoria Racing Club's CEO Neil Wilson said Swift's cancellation would be "disappointing for everyone".

But the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses said they were "absolutely delighted with the news".

"The pressure on Taylor Swift to cancel her performance was significant. Her fans did not want to see her supporting animal abuse," campaign spokeswoman Kristin Leigh said.

"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."

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