- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 16, 2015

Animal rights activist and PETA spokeswoman Pamela Anderson joined Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Wednesday to feed inmates a meat-free lunch.

The former “Baywatch” star visited the Maricopa County Jail at the invitation of the sheriff, who took meat off jailhouse menus in September 2013, U.S. News reported.

“I am proud of our jail system,” Sheriff Arpaio said in a press release, “which surely ranks among the best in the nation, and am very gratified that our vegetarian meals are being recognized and lauded by PETA today. Those meals, which translate to serving an average of 8300 inmates each day, are both nutritious and well-balanced and lower in cost than you’ll find in any other jail anywhere.”

The Sheriff’s Office has calculated that eliminating meat has saved the county and its taxpayers some $200,000 each year, the press release stated.

“I believe people can be rehabilitated from the inside out,” said Ms. Anderson, a longtime vegan. “Jails are full of people wanting to change, to make amends, to learn healthier habits and understand compassion and empathy.”

Dan Mathews, PETA’s senior vice president, said Sheriff Arpaio’s meat-free jail policy “is as bold as his animal cruelty unit.”

PETA has helped veganize menus at universities, corporations and sports arenas and, with MCSO, a mega-size jail, as an example, will now reach out to jails and prisons,” Mr. Mathews said.

The 82-year-old sheriff said he began his own vegetarian diet Wednesday.

“I don’t know why every other jail and prison wouldn’t want to copy what we’ve accomplished here,” he said. “It works on every level: financially for the taxpayer, health-wise for the inmate.”

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