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Taylor Swift cancels concert at horse race after pressure from animal rights activists

Numerous horses have died in incidents related to the race

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV

Pop superstar Taylor Swift has cancelled an upcoming performance at an Australian horserace event following outcry from animal rights activists.

Swift was slated to headline the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 5. But the Victoria Racing Club, which hosts the event, released a statement Saturday announcing that Swift had cancelled her performance. The changed was blamed on a scheduling issue.

"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," the statement read.

However, Swift's cancellation comes after animal rights activists claimed Swift was "endorsing animal abuse" by agreeing to perform at the race, according to the BBC.

One group in particular, Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, even began the social media campaign "#NupToTheCup" to pressure Swift into canceling her performance.

"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," the group said.

The Melbourne Cup has been a lightning rod for controversy in recent years. The race is connected to the deaths of six racehorses since 2013, including one, The Cliffsofmoher, which had to be euthanized on the track last year after suffering a significant injury.

Although Swift's cancelation was blamed on a scheduling conflict, the coalition said Saturday that Swift's decision was related to the pressure placed on her.

"The pressure on Taylor Swift to cancel her performance was significant. Her fans did not want to see her supporting animal abuse," the group 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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