Paul McCartney is applauding new Pope BENEDICT's efforts to make the world a kinder place for animals - and he hopes fellow Catholics take time to think about the pontiff's message.

The former beatle is very encouraged by recent remarks made by Pope Benedict, condemning factory farming and other animal cruelties employed by companies like fast-food chain KFC.

Speaking exclusively on People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals official website, he says, "God bless him! I think it's fantastic for someone in his position, who's able to reach so

many people, to take a strong stance on that.

"One of PETA's strongest points, and one of mine, is compassion. That certainly is a basic tenet of the Catholic religion."