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“I was shocked to learn that the use of chimpanzees in experiments still persists in the U.S. even though the entire European Union and every other country around the world, except for tiny Gabon, have banned such experiments. But nearly 1,000 of these complex beings are locked inside barren cells in U.S. laboratories — some for as long as 50 years — where they have been intentionally infected with diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis and forced to endure decades of invasive procedures, fear, loneliness, and pain. I hope you will agree that chimpanzees deserve better.”

So says Woody Harrelson in a plea to Sen. Barbara Boxer, imploring the California Democrat to support the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would permanently remove chimps from their role in the laboratory and save taxpayers $30 million.

The actor has new billing from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which proclaims him “Woody Harrelson, great ape defender.”

HEADBANGERS FOR SANTORUM

Yes, the Foo Fighters entertained President Obama at a Beverly Hills fundraiser Wednesday night. But the Grand Old Party has gotten a cordial nod from the heaviest of heavy-metal guitarists. That would be Megadeth founder Dave Mustaine, who pines to see a Republican in the White House. But the plainspoken Mr. Mustaine is not crazy about Mitt Romney’s wealth, and though he admires Rep. Ron Paul’s outreach to the young and restless, he disagrees with his policies.

“Watching Newt Gingrich, I was pretty excited for a while, but now he’s just gone back to being that person that everybody said he was — that angry little man. I still like him, but I don’t think I’d vote for him,” Mr. Mustaine tells Musicradar.com, an industry site.

“Earlier in the election, I was completely oblivious as to who Rick Santorum was, but when the dude went home to be with his daughter when she was sick, that was very commendable,” the guitarist continues.

“Just watching how he hasn’t gotten into doing these horrible, horrible attack ads like Mitt Romney’s done against Newt Gingrich, and then the volume at which Newt has gone back at Romney — I think Santorum has some presidential qualities, and I’m hoping that if it does come down to it, we’ll see a Republican in the White House. And that it’s Rick Santorum,” he concludes.

POLL DU JOUR

• 57 percent of Iranians approve of their nation developing nuclear power for nonmilitary use.

• 19 percent overall disapprove; 24 percent don’t know or refused to answer.

• 40 percent approve of Iran developing nuclear power for military use.

• 35 percent disapprove; 24 percent don’t know or refused to answer.

• 35 percent of Iranians with a university degree approve, 48 percent disapprove.

• 46 percent approve of Iran cutting off ties with countries that impose economic sanctions.

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