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

The Cup organisers announced Swift as their headline act earlier this month, but she cancelled yesterday, citing scheduling issues.

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

Some of Swift’s fans also expressed disappointment at the singer’s decision to perform at the race.

Twitter user Yvette Lewis said as much as she loved Swift, she was “disappointed” the star was supporting a “cruel industry”.

Another fan told the star 122 horses had died on Australian race tracks in the year to July 2019.

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

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The event’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.

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Victoria Racing Club’s chief executive 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.”

– BBC / ABC