Pamela Anderson is urging Australia's prime minister to ban a sheep farming practice at the center of a global campaign to boycott Australian wool.

The 38-year-old actress, who is an animal rights activist, has written to Prime Minister John Howard, asking him to end the "sad practices" of live sheep exports and a process known as mulesing, which involves slicing flesh and wool away from the sheep's rump to prevent blowflies from laying their eggs in the warm, damp skin.

Farmers say the procedure is an essential part of caring for the animals in Australia's hot climate. But the U.S.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals calls the practice an unnecessary mutilation and wants it stopped.

Anderson, who has been involved in anti-fur ads and a campaign to raise awareness of what she calls abuse of chickens in processing plants, said in the letter Wednesday to Howard that consumers were horrified by the procedure. She also condemned the export of live sheep on "death ships" to the Middle East.

Australia ships live animals to Islamic countries that require halal meat products — meat from an animal that has been killed by a Muslim who slits its jugular vein and drains all the blood from the carcass.

Several years ago, Australian exporters were accused of cruelty when a ship carrying sheep became stranded at sea for weeks and thousands of animals died.