Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 12:48 UK

Rolf faces animal rights protest

Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris has fronted several animal-themed television shows

Animal rights activists plan to protest against the appearance of entertainer Rolf Harris at a Bath racecourse event.

The artist and TV presenter is to sing some of his hits at an Aussie beach party after Friday's racing.

Animal Aid claims the host of the BBC's Animal Hospital show should not be endorsing horse racing, which they described as "ruthless and exploitive".

Racecourse manager John Williams said: "The Rolf Harris element is going to be entertainment as opposed to the sport."

Harris, who has fronted several animal-themed TV shows, will be performing for an hour after the racing.

Safety record

A Bath Animal Aid spokeswoman said: "Rolf Harris has spoken out in favour of animal welfare on numerous occasions.

"Animal Aid realises that it is difficult for Rolf to cancel engagements, but hopes that the peaceful protest at the racecourse will highlight for Rolf - and the considerable crowd he will draw by his appearance - that racing is a ruthless and exploitative industry."

Mr Williams defended the course's safety record and said the entertainer would not be involved in the racing at all.

"We've had evenings like this before," he said.

"The Wurzels have entertained after the racing and the same will be with Rolf Harris on Friday night.

"So we were quite surprised the link was made in the first place, it certainly wasn't one we thought of when we decided to put the event on."

A spokeswoman for Harris said she expected the show would go on, regardless of the protest.

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