Pamela Anderson is turning her animal rights activism against the Kentucky Derby, refusing to attend the world’s most famous horse race again because of its sponsorship deal with the parent company of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“It makes me want to avoid Kentucky altogether, which is sad because there are so many great people there,” the former Baywatch star said in a statement released today by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).
Anderson, a Peta member who attended the Derby in 2001 and 2003, has been involved in a campaign to raise awareness of what she calls abuse of chickens in processing plants that supply poultry to Louisville-based KFC.
“Like most people, I don’t want to support cruelty to animals, whether it’s forcing horses to race for our amusement or scalding chickens alive for our plate,” Anderson said. “We have to be more evolved than this.”
Kentucky Gov Ernie Fletcher last month refused Anderson’s request to have a bust of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders removed from the state Capitol.
Fletcher cited Sanders as a state icon and KFC called Anderson’s attack a misguided publicity stunt.
That was followed by this month’s announcement that KFC’s parent, Yum! Brands, had been named sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, allowing the company to put its logo beneath the famed twin spires at Churchill Downs, on a sign above the starting gate and on billboards around the track.
“I’m not shocked that KFC is sponsoring the Derby – it’s greedy companies using poor animals all the way around,” Anderson said.
A Churchill Downs spokesman said that although he disagreed with Anderson, he regrets that she will not be coming back to the big race.
“We would certainly love to welcome her back somewhere down the road,” John Asher said.