Pamela Anderson visits Tent City to promote vegetarian menu

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has had a lot on his plate recently, namely a steady diet of news about racial profiling and the federal courts.

On Wednesday he served up something different; actress and animal rights activist Pamela Anderson to help the Sheriff announce the Maricopa County Jails are going meatless.

The former Baywatch star was far from the beach; she was at the Maricopa County Jail's Kitchen near 35th Avenue and Lower Buckeye.

Anderson toured the jail dressed in strips, albeit stylish red and black ones. She was trailed by jail staff and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals personnel.

They made the obligatory visit to Tent City, but mostly toured the jail's kitchen.

She glanced admiringly at the crates of oranges, potatoes, and a huge swirling vat of potatoes and lentils. 

Anderson served up lunch to a line of inmates, and pronounced herself well satisfied with the Sheriff's new veggie ways.

"I was really impressed, I think the food is great, and like we said we're saving lives, (it's) helpful to give people a chance to eat compassionately and make non-violent choices when it comes to their eating habits," said Pamela Anderson.

The Sheriff reciprocated by saying he is making some changes of his own.

"Because of you guys I am starting my vegetarian diet today, and I have to be careful because the media follows me everywhere with their little phones, so I can't be caught eating a t-bone steak," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Anderson and Arpaio served up broccoli, potatoes, and soy stew to the inmates, but they didn't stick around for lunch.

Instead they went to Green, a new American-vegetarian restaurant on 7th Street north of McDowell. Where the menu features items like spicy tomatoes and eggplant deglazed in rice wine, and organic tamari.

Outside the restaurant, Ms. Anderson autographed a stack of PlayBoy's brought by a fan. Adult magazines that are of course off limits in the county jail.

Arpaio said that switching to a vegetarian meal for 8,000 inmates saves taxpayers $200,000 a year. 

Anderson said she hopes the change is one that serves as a model for prisons and jails across the country.
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