Taylor Swift has cancelled her upcoming performance at this year’s Melbourne Cup, the Guardian reports. She was scheduled to sing two tracks from her new album Lover in what was being billed as her only show in Australia of the year. The Melbourne Cup, Australia’s largest annual Thoroughbred horse race, is set to take place in November.
The Victoria Racing Club has released a statement saying that the pop star was “now unable to make the trip to Australia,” but the cancellation comes after an outcry from animal rights activists who called on Swift to boycott the event. Six horses have died at the Melbourne Cup since 2013; one was euthanized on the track after fracturing his shoulder at last year’s race.
“Taylor Swift has put money before compassion by agreeing to perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup,” the Coalition For The Protection Of Racehorses wrote after the announcement that Swift would perform. “Horses are being killed for gambling profits and entertainment. 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.”
Music booking agency Mushroom Events says that the change is due to scheduling issues with Swift’s world tour. “Regrettably, Taylor is no longer able to make it to this year’s Melbourne Cup,” said spokesman Michael Gudinski. “Changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here.” Neil Wilson, chief executive of the Victoria Racing Club, adds that the situation is “disappointing for everyone.”