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Comment: I love you Taylor Swift, but please don't perform at the cruel Melbourne Cup

The Guardian logo The Guardian 12/09/2019 Dejan Jotanovic

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Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Dear Taylor Swift,

You’ve done something bad.

Last year I took the plunge and publicly outed myself as knowing the lyrics to every single one of your songs, adamant that you deserved a Pulitzer for All Too Well.

I’ve been to every one of your shows. At my first I threw a plush-toy koala at your feet while you performed in a blue dress and cowboy boots. At another your publicist gave me a pit pass in congratulations of my shoddily made sign (“I love Andrea” – your mum is a sweetheart).

NEW YORK - AUGUST 22: Music superstar Taylor Swift (pictured) is interviewed by CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith in a segment on CBS SUNDAY MORNING. The interview is broadcast on Sunday, August 25, 2019 on the CBS Television Network. Image is a frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images) © Getty NEW YORK - AUGUST 22: Music superstar Taylor Swift (pictured) is interviewed by CBS News correspondent Tracy Smith in a segment on CBS SUNDAY MORNING. The interview is broadcast on Sunday, August 25, 2019 on the CBS Television Network. Image is a frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images) In 2018 you decided it was your time to speak now, putting your weight behind the two Democrat candidates from your home state of Tennessee for the midterms: Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper. You didn’t care about how this would affect your reputation with your largely red base.

Now, in 2019, you’re fearless in publicly championing the Equality Act, a legislative protection for LGBTQ which is looking to go before the Senate floor.

But if you’re wanting to position yourself as an overtly political artist – one who wears a firm set of beliefs and, more than this, marches them into action – then you must reconsider your decision to perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.

This is not something I can remain calm about. Six horses have died as a direct result of injuries sustained from the Melbourne Cup since 2013. Six horses in six years. Last year The Cliffsofmoher, was euthanised on the race track after fracturing his right shoulder.

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Taylor Swift attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV) © Getty NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Taylor Swift attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV) These animals are forced to race against one another at devastating speeds while being whipped by their saddlemates and jeered from crowds of onlookers who fashion stupid flowers on their heads and smell like overpriced lukewarm sparkling wine.

This event feeds directly off the exploitation, injury and death of what it supposedly prizes: horses. Animal welfare organisations – Peta, RSPCA Australia and Animals Australia – have spoken openly about their disgust and disdain for how we, as a state, ritualise and celebrate this cruelty.

Who profits? Australia’s robust and dominant gambling industry, which has skilfully managed to infest a toxic gambling appetite into our national culture. In 2016-17 we as a nation bet $209bn. We are regarded as the world’s worst gamblers.

a person wearing a costume: “I am adamant that you deserved a Pulitzer for All Too Well.” © Getty Images “I am adamant that you deserved a Pulitzer for All Too Well.” We are the only country in the world to immortalise gambling through our national image in the name of a public holiday.

Who loses? Australians lose more than $1,200 a year per capita from betting, more than double that of the second worst offenders, Singapore ($600).

But if there’s one thing that Australia is routinely good at, it’s celebrating the wrong things at the wrong times. It’s an absolute shame that we choose to revere animal abuse and a toxic gambling culture through public celebration. It’s also an absolute disappointment that you’ve chosen to put your brand and values behind our cultural shame.

But I don’t think you want to be associated with cruelty, exploitation or even stupid floral Cinderella’s stepsister headpieces.

I don’t want any more blood to spill. I don’t want any bad blood.

To revamp a lyric from your 2008 Grammy award-winning album Fearless:

I’m still a dreamer, please don’t let me down, it’s not too late for you and your white horse, to turn around.

Please, Taylor Swift, do not perform at the 2019 Melbourne Cup.

Gallery: Taylor Swift and 24 Surprisingly Rich Musicians (GoBankingRates)

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• Dejan Jotanovic is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.

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