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NEW YORK - Animal rights activist and onetime Baywatch star Pamela Anderson has slammed Mars Inc, saying she was shocked at claims the company she once helped promote funds experiments that kill animals.

In a letter to Mars President Paul Michaels, Anderson said she would urge support for a boycott, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), of M&Ms, Twix candy bars and other snack foods made by the company.

"When my friends at PETA showed me evidence that Mars continues to fund cruel and pointless animal tests, I was shocked -- and it takes a lot to shock me," wrote the former Playboy magazine model and Baywatch television star.

Anderson was paid by Mars to travel to Australia last year to promote the company's green M&Ms.

PETA has accused Mars of violating its own written policy by funding a study at the University of California, San Francisco, that uses rats, who are "force fed by having plastic tubes shoved down their throats ... then cut open and killed."

The animals rights group said it would file a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over Mars' "false statement." The FTC investigates claims of dishonesty in advertising.

Mars spokeswoman Alice Nathanson said last week regarding the University of California experiment: "I can't speak to any information that PETA may or may not have. I can't speak to any experiments."

But she added the privately held company "would never issue or post a statement ... we were not 100 per cent confident in."

Anderson also called on Mars "not to be a Grinch" and to promise to end all support for animal experiments for the company's ingredients.