The City of Montreal denied a permit for an event launching Pamela Anderson's newest animal-rights campaign for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). ((Canadian Press))

Pamela Anderson's risqué advertisement promoting vegetarianism has proven just a tad too sexy — even for the famously sultry City of Montreal.

The former Baywatch star, an outspoken animal-rights activist, has been denied a permit to hold an event launching her newest animal-rights campaign.

In the advertisement, Anderson's bikini-clad body is covered in marks that mimic a butcher's diagram — with parts of her flesh marked up with words like "breast," "round," and "rump."

The caption reads: "All animals have the same parts. Have a heart — Go vegetarian."

In a statement, Anderson called the move surprisingly puritanical for a city whose strip clubs have long been a favoured destination of international tourists.

"In a city that is known for its exotic dancing and for being progressive and edgy, how sad that a woman would be banned from using her own body in a political protest," Anderson said.

"I didn't think that Canada would be so puritanical."

But a municipal official said Anderson and the animal-rights group PETA can still hold their event Thursday if they want to: the catch is they won't have the city's formal blessing.

Montreal film commissioner Daniel Bissonnette, whose office denied the permit, called it a difficult situation.

"On one hand we're working for an organization where we're getting reminded on a daily basis that we should work in a sexism-free environment and that equality between men and women and the image of women is very important," Bissonnette said.

"On the other hand, it's not our intention at all to prevent people from going in the public domain and sharing their message."

Anderson, who is in town to perform at the Just for Laughs comedy festival, had hoped to launch the campaign at a public square in front of Montreal's city hall.

The plans were nixed by city officials in an email to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)  — a group Anderson often works with.

In the email, a city official called the advertisement sexist and not something Montreal could endorse.

"We, as public officials representing a municipal government, cannot endorse this image of Ms. Anderson," wrote Josée Rochefort, an official in charge of issuing permits with the city's television and film office.

"It is not so much controversial as it goes against all principles public organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle of equality between men and women."

Anderson was expected to launch the campaign Thursday at another event instead — a previously scheduled news conference at a Montreal restaurant where she planned to promote her comedy-festival appearance. Anderson is hosting a gala on Thursday evening.

A PETA spokeswoman said a decision would be taken later on whether or not to reschedule the public outdoor event.