Pamela Anderson Protests Canada Seal Hunt

Actress Pamela Anderson has added her name to the growing list of celebrities speaking out against Canada's annual seal hunt, which just got under way.

The former "Baywatch" star asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the issue, following her hosting duties at Sunday's Juno Awards, Canada's largest music awards.

"As a proud Canadian who frequently travels abroad, I am alarmed that people are starting to see Canada as a country more beholden to a pack of greedy hunters and to the sealskin `fashion' whims of a few countries than to the massive international outcry against the hunt," Anderson, a vocal member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a letter faxed to Harper's office late Monday.

"One of the biggest problems facing the U.S. government is appearing aloof about its own hostile behavior; I'd hate to see that happen north of the border too," she said.

The actress and model said she's collected thousands of signatures via an online PETA petition protesting the annual hunt, which opened last Saturday in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The regulated hunt begins among the aboriginal Inuits in the Arctic North in November and will move to Newfoundland and Labrador in April.

The Canadian government and isolated fishing communities off the Atlantic Ocean insist they need the supplemental winter income, especially since the cod stocks have dwindled. The slaughter of some 320,000 seals last season brought in US$14.5 million in revenue.

Anderson, a native of British Columbia in western Canada, said she hopes to visit Ottawa on Monday to meet with Harper. The prime minister turned down a similar request by French film legend Brigitte Bardot, who traveled to Ottawa last week to protest the hunt.

The seal hunt has attracted plenty of celebrity protesters this year, including former Beatle Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills, who called the cull "a stain on the character of the Canadian people" and urged the government to turn to ecotourism in the region.

British singer Morrissey said he won't include Canada on any tours until the seal hunt ends.