PETA Applauds Taylor Swift’s Decision to Nix Melbourne Cup Performance

For Immediate Release:
September 23, 2019

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles

In response to news that Taylor Swift has pulled out of her scheduled appearance at the Melbourne Cup following a letter sent by PETA Australia about the cruelty inherent in the horseracing industry, the group is applauding the star for her compassionate decision.

“Taylor Swift dumped the Melbourne Cup, and PETA couldn’t be happier,” says PETA Press Outreach Manager Moira Colley. “The event is riddled with horse breakdowns and death and is linked to the bloody horse-slaughter industry, which PETA most recently exposed in South Korea. None of this cruelty is consistent with the kind person we know Taylor to be.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

PETA Australia’s letter to Swift follows.

September 12, 2019

Dear Ms. Swift,

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia regarding your upcoming performance at the Melbourne Cup. As fans, we know you’re compassionate and genuinely interested in the feelings of your followers, so we wanted to share some information about this problematic event, in the hope that you’ll decide to cancel this particular performance.

Animal suffering has been endemic to the Melbourne Cup from its inception, as the inaugural race in 1861 claimed two lives before the race was even run. More recently, six horses have died in just five years, during or shortly after the race. Last year, 5-year-old Irish Thoroughbred The Cliffsofmoher fell badly, breaking his shoulder. He was killed shortly thereafter. Other casualties include Verema in 2013, Admire Rakti and Araldo in 2014, Red Cadeaux in 2015, and Regal Monarch in 2017.

Generally, horses’ lives are of little value to the Australian horseracing industry. Between July 2018 and August 2019, 122 horses died on Australian racetracks from catastrophic injuries or heart failure. While no concrete figures for “wastage” – that is, foals bred but never registered for racing – exist, estimates suggest approximately 2,000 per year. Because these animals never represent a return on investment, they’re destroyed or neglected, and some are even abandoned to starve.

As documented by PETA Asia earlier this year, many horses bred by the Australian racing industry are sold to South Korea, where they’re slaughtered for meat. Since the 1970s, more than 3,000 horses from Australia or who have Australian parents have been killed for their flesh in South Korea. Following the release of this investigation, police in Jeju, South Korea, have charged the slaughterhouse where the footage was obtained, along with three of its workers, with killing horses in full view of other horses, in violation of the Animal Protection Act.

The Australian public is increasingly speaking out against the Melbourne Cup. Last year, #NupToTheCup trended on social media, as Australians shared their reasons for shunning the event. Although we understand that it’s hard to gauge the history and appropriateness of an event while you’re touring abroad, we can assure you that the cruelty to horses at the Melbourne Cup renders it an unfit stage for your talent and kindness.

We sincerely hope you will reconsider giving this performance.

Best regards,

Emily Rice

PETA Australia

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