Paul McCartney Plans Animal-Rights Concerts

Pretenders singer/guitarist Chrissie Hynde helping to organize musical events for next year.

Plans for one or several animal-rights benefits next year by former Beatles bassist Paul

McCartney are still preliminary, the singer's North American spokesman, Joe Dera, said

Friday (Sept. 18).

But animal-rights activists who have worked with McCartney in the past are already

hailing what they see as the inevitable positive outcome of his efforts to aid their cause.

"Anything that Paul ever touches turns to gold, and that includes his animal-rights

activism," said Dan Mathews, spokesman for the American animal-rights group People

For the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

McCartney is organizing the benefits along with Pretenders singer and guitarist Chrissie

Hynde as a way to continue the animal-rights activism of his wife, Linda, who died of

cancer in April at age 56.

"Good animal activists around the world might think, 'Oh, God, we've lost a very powerful

voice when we lost Linda,' " McCartney said recently through Dera. "Well, we have. But

my voice is there now and I'm going to try to use it. We are going to keep up her good

work."

The McCartneys worked with PETA on several campaigns over the years, including

successful efforts to convince toiletries-maker Gillette and car manufacturer General

Motors to halt product testing on animals. In addition, Linda long advocated a vegetarian

diet through her cookbooks and meatless-meals product line.

Among the artists mentioned as possible collaborators in the benefit include outspoken

animal-rights supporters such as the B-52's and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, as

well as songwriter Elvis Costello, Australian songstress Natalie Imbruglia, Brit-poppers

Blur and retro-rocker Lenny Kravitz.

The benefit event could take the form of a single show, a series of concerts or even a

tour, Dera said. It's unclear whether concerts would take place in Britain, the United

States or both.

"We're looking at all possibilities," Dera said.

Mathews said discussions for a benefit have been going on for some time, with the

earliest plans focusing on a single event in London.

"This would be just the latest way in which [Paul] shows how much he cares, and how

much Linda meant to the animal movement," Mathews said.