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Pamela Anderson helps promote controversial sheriff's vegetarian prison meals

Some inmates at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona did a double-take after seeing actress Pamela Anderson serving their lunches on Wednesday.

With PETA, Anderson working with Joe Arpaio, who's flouted court racial profiling orders

Actress Pamela Anderson, left, joins Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as they serve an all-vegetarian meal to inmates at the Maricopa County Jail on Wednesday in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

Some inmates at the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona did a double-take after seeing actress Pamela Anderson serving their lunches.

The former Baywatch star was in town Wednesday to help promote Sheriff Joe Arpaio's all-vegetarian meal program.

Arpaio says cutting meat from the meals served to the more than 8,000 inmates has saved an estimated $200,000 US per year. The jail has been serving vegetarian meals for 16 months now.

Inmates are served a peanut butter sandwich with oranges and some crackers for brunch and a hot meal comprised of different vegetable and soy dishes for dinner.

Anderson hopes the meal initiative stands as a model for prisons and jails across the country.

She is a longtime vegan and a spokeswoman for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The group came under fire for its association with Arpaio, who has long faced criticism that he unfairly targets minorities for law enforcement.

Just Wednesday, a circuit appeals court upheld a ruling against Arpaio and his sheriff's office for engaging in racial profiling by detaining Latinos at traffic patrols on suspicion of being undocumented persons.

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