Pamela Anderson is boycotting the Kentucky Derby.
The 38-year-old actress, who is an animal rights activist, says her opposition to animal cruelty in all its forms means she can never go back to the famed horse race.
“It makes me want to avoid Kentucky altogether, which is sad because there are so many great people there,” Anderson said in a statement released Tuesday by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Anderson, a PETA member who attended the Derby in 2001 and 2003, has been involved in anti-fur ads and 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.”
Last month, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher 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.
KFC’s parent company, Yum! Brands, was recently named presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. The company will put its logo beneath the famed twin spires at Churchill Downs, on a sign above the starting gate and on billboards around the track.
Although her opposition to the Derby is not based on the Yum! sponsorship, Anderson did not look on it kindly. “I’m not shocked that KFC is sponsoring the Derby,” she said, “it’s greedy companies using poor animals all the way around.”
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.