Taylor Swift, Megan Gale and Ashie Keddie are just some of the celebrity crowd who will shun the Melbourne Cup this year amid concerns for the treatment of retired racehorses. 

And according to The Sunday Telegraph, Racing Carnival organisers have been struggling to deal with securing A-listers to appear at the event amid recent backlash. 

An anonymous insider said a number of celebrities have been having meetings to determine if ‘attending will be good or bad for their brand.’ 

‘It’s been a nightmare!’ A Racing Carnival insider says organisers are struggling with celebrities pulling out of the Melbourne Cup over worries about horse treatment and troll backlash. Pictured is Taylor Swift, who recently cancelled her scheduled appearance at this year’s event 

‘It has been a nightmare for organisers trying to secure a celebrity to pose with a horse to promote the event.’

‘There is genuine concern about the treatment of the horses and most are worried about the online backlash they will receive from trolls.’ 

A number of celebrities who have boycotted the event, including former top model Gale, have a sustainable brands which promote ethical sustainability. 

Boycott: ‘My decision to not attend the races was one I did not make lightly,’ Megan (here at last year’s event) said in a statement, after pulling out of attending the prestigious event 

Meanwhile, singer Anthony Callea recently confirmed he will sing the national anthem prior to the race, but plans donate his fee to an equine rehabilitation centre.

An ABC investigation aired last week left many Australians horrified due to the inclusion of footage of racehorses being sent to slaughterhouses despite horse racing rules banning the practice. 

On Friday, Megan addressed her decision not to attend the ‘race that stops the nation’ publicly after promoting the event in past years. 

Trackside regular: Megan Gale, 44, has been a regular among the marquees at Flemington for years but offered no explanation as to why she won’t attend next week when she announced her absence on Thursday. Pictured with her fiancé, Shaun Hampson, at the 2015 Melbourne Cup

‘My decision to not attend the races was one I did not make lightly,’ Megan said in a statement.

‘My client, Lexus, has been wonderfully supportive about this and I thank them for that and look forward to continuing what is, and will continue to be, a great partnership of mutual respect,’ she added.  

It follows the withdrawal of U.S. singer Taylor Swift in September, citing scheduling issues. Before pulling out, she was booked to perform two songs at the event.  

Despite the backlash, a number of celebrities have appeared to criticise the cancellations by the celebrities. 

No show: Offspring actress Asher Keddie is one of the stars not attending the race meet, according to the Sunday Telegraph report 

Former AFL player Hayden Ballantyne, who retired from the Fremantle Dockers this year, said celebrities were simply ‘changing tone because it is the popular thing to do’.   

‘When was the last time (they) came and … picked up a bit of horse s**t … or tended to an injured horse when it has cut itself up?’ he said.

‘In most instances they’ve got no idea what they are talking about and they are just doing it because they think it is a cool thing to do.’

Making a statement! Singer Anthony Callea (pictured) will sing the national anthem prior to the race, but will donate his fee to an equine rehabilitation centre 

He’s sentiments were echoed by Victorian officials, including Premier Daniel Andrews doesn’t care about the trackside celebrity headcount.    

Mr Andrews is not attending the event himself, but said that has nothing to do with police bracing for an increased number of protesters outside Flemington Racecourse.

Activists from the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses are planning to make themselves heard outside the gates each day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, as well as during Monday’s Melbourne Cup parade.

Mr Andrews stressed horse welfare is taken very seriously in all codes of racing, pointing to Racing Victoria this week announcing a $25million boost to fund an expanded welfare program.  

Slammed: Horse trainer Hayden Ballantyne (pictured left) has slammed the celebrities who have pulled out of the Melbourne Cup for being hypocritical and having ‘no idea what they’re talking about’

Melbourne Cup: Racing Carnival insider says organisers are struggling with celebrities pulling out

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