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Paul's Protest!
Sir Paul McCartney has joined forces with the Sunday People to battle an obscene series of cruel experiments by university boffins to deafen a group of helpless monkeys. Incredibly, the terrified animals are to be bombarded with 145-decibel noise for up to four hours at a time - simply to discover why loud rock music makes fans deaf!

Carrying on the cause of animal welfare pioneered by his beloved late wife Linda, pop star Sir Paul is horrified about what is being done supposedly in the name of his profession. And in an exclusive interview with the Sunday People he urged our readers to join in and back him all the way.

Sir Paul told us: "These poor monkeys are going to wake up deaf. And it's just to prove that you shouldn't listen to loud music or stand under a jetplane - well we know that anyway. This is disgusting. No real music fan could possibly want this.

"It's a gross intrusion into the rights of harmless creatures. Isn't it time that we as a society started to show some respect to innocent animals? The monkeys have committed no crime other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The tests, on six adorable squirrel monkeys, are due to take place at the University of California. The results will be published here in the UK and be made available to universities and medical centres here.

The sick experiments will blow out the eardrums of the innocent animals and could eventually kill them. The University admits that the terrified animals - which weigh less than than a bag of sugar - will be woken up to a bizarre world of total silence or even suffer the agonising pain of constant ringing in the ears.

Vice-chancellor Zach Hall arrogantly dismissed Sir Paul's campaign, saying: "When they wake up, the animals will merely have a hearing disabilty similar to one that millions of Americans have."

But former Beatle Sir Paul is determined to get the grotesque and unnecessary experiments banned. He has written a letter to the university Chancellor Dr Michael Bishop in which he pleads: "As you know my wife Linda was a staunch supporter of the campaign to stop unnecessary suffering in laboratories, and would have been appalled to hear of these grotesque and crude tests.

"In her name and that of all compassionate people, I ask you and the experimenters at the University to recognise that there are far better ways to gather knowledge than by torturing animals."

You can join forces with Sir Paul by writing, phoning, faxing or e-mailing your complaint to the Chancellor, too. And we've also obtained the addresses of the scientists conducting the cruel experiments so you can bombard them with your comments. During the tests the pitiful monkeys will be exposed to high-powered loudspeakers set up next to their heads.

They will be played a continuous high-pitched, high-frequency noise. The experiments will be conducted in a soundproofed room and will consist of a single, unbroken tone. The noise will be far louder than any rock concert or even a jet taking off.

The monkeys' skulls will later be cut open to see how the sounds have affected their brains. The university defends their actions by saying the animals will be anaesthetized first.

And the scientists in charge of the experiments, Dr Steven Cheung and Dr Marshal Fong, claim they will help learn how the human brain copes with deafness so it can be retrained. They say the results could help people who have suffered deafness after listening to loud rock music.

But Sir Paul said: "They say they will anaesthetize them, well I don't think that means they won't hear it. I think that when you're under anaesthetic you hear anyway, you just don't instantly remember it. It really gets me - deafening monkeys just to prove tht loud music impairs your hearing.

"All these terrible things are happening in the name of something to benefit humans. It's like having beagles smoke. We know that smoking is bad for you - it's written on every packet of cigarettes. So we don't need any more beagles to go smoking for us."

The experiments came to light after a hi-fi shop in San Francisco refused to supply the loudspeakers needed by the university to deafen the monkeys. Owner Radley Hirsch contacted the animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) of which Linda McCartney was the first patron.

Its officers then informed Sir Paul. PETA immediately launched a campaign to halt the sick trials. Director of research Mary Beth Sweetland pointed out that modern brain-imaging techniques to tackle noise-induced deafness meant the tests were unnecessary, anyway. She added: "Your readers can make such a difference by camapigning, writing and e-mailing, these madmen and demanding they stop these awful experiments."

Singer Chrissie Hynde was so incensed by the tests that she has asked PETA to gather a petition at a concert in America next Sunday. But despite the protests, the University of California insists the tests will go ahead. Vice chancellor Hall said: "We are not ashamed of them in any way."

Last night Dan Mathews, director of campaigns for PETA, said: "Just tell your readers that every letter or call they make to the Chancellor will be a step closer to saving these monkeys from torture."

10 MONKEY FACTS
-The tails of squirrel monkeys are nearly twice as long as their bodies
-about 15 inches
-They weigh less than a 2lb bag of sugar;
-They have a life span of up to 20 years;
-Their natural habitat is South American forests - though hundreds of thousands have been imported into the US for medical research;
-The most famous ever squirrel monkey was "Miss Baker" who, dressed in a space suit, was sent into orbit in 1959.
-Their diet consists almost entirely of berries, nuts, flowers and leaves;
-They sleep for less than two hours a day;
-They are more sociable than other monkeys.
-Some strains of squirrel monkey are endangered because of rainforest destruction.
-There have been possible sightings in Britain - most recently in Milton Keynes in June.

WHERE TO SEND YOUR PROTESTS
TO register your disgust with the university Chancellor Michael Bishop, write to: The Chancellor, Chancellor's Office, University of California, Box 0402, 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco 94143, United States (tel 001 415 476 2401;fax:001 415 476 9634). Or you can e-mail him at jmbishop@chanoff.ucsf.edu

Dr Cheung can be reached by post at The Department of Otolaryngology, University of California, Box 0342, 400 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, 94143, United States (tel: 001 415 476 0757; fax: 001 415 476 3591). E-mail him at cheung@phy.ucsf.edu

Dr Fong can be reached by post at the same address as Dr Cheung. His phone number is 001 415 476 5315. His fax number is 001 415 502 2923. Or you can e-mail him at mfong@itsa.ucsf.edu