Morrissey is leading the race to be crowned the 'World's Sexiest Vegetarian', beating off competition from Hollywood pin-ups Gwyneth Paltrow and Tobey Maguire.

The former SMITHS frontman is the surprise favourite to scoop the title in a new online poll by animal rights group PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS (PETA).

Fellow meat-avoiding singers Prince, Shania Twain and Outkast rapper ANDRE 3000 are also in contention to land the number one spot.

PETA president INGRID NEWKIRK says, "Celebrities are shunning meat faster than you can say 'veggie burger'.

"What's sexier than someone who exudes both passion and compassion?"

Other celebrities named in the survey include former BEATLE SIR PAUL McCARTNEY, veteran French beauty Brigitte Bardot, former US first daughter Chelsea Clinton, Grammy-winning singer India Arie and James Bond actor PIERCE BROSNAN.

07/06/2004 17:13