Justin Bieber is in the firing line over his pet monkey, who was quarantined last Thursday by Munich customs officials when the pop star couldn’t produce a health certificate and other documentation for the animal at the city’s airport.
The 19-year-old was given the capuchin as a birthday gift and has owned it for less than a month. Bieber flew to Munich on a private jet to play at a concert in the city.
Karl-Heinz Joachim, director of the animal welfare shelter where the monkey is being kept says Bieber shouldn’t be allowed to collect the 14-week-old monkey.
“To take the animal out of here and to go on tour with it would not be good. The best for the animal would be to be cared for by someone who already has a couple of capuchin monkeys,” he told Süddeutsche Zeitung.
He continued: “The animal was separated from the mother far too early [9 weeks]. According to our law, one would have to confiscate the monkey.”
Revealing that the monkey has at first refused to eat until it was given a cuddly toy cat to hold, Joachim told Spiegel Online that the previously “traumatized ” monkey was now cheerful and eating normally.
He did, however, have one personal message for the singer:
“Dear Mr Bieber: If you do collect your monkey from us, it would be very good if you were to employ someone to look after it and give it everything it needs. There must be money enough for this.”
The embattled singer has rarely been out of recent headlines in the past month after a series of dramatic incidents on his Believe world tour and recent battery allegations. On Tuesday, his representatives were told by Munich customs that he has four weeks to collect his monkey before it’s placed into permanent care.
Other animal rights and welfare groups also support the shelter’s view that the monkey should not be returned to Bieber. Debbie Leahy, of the Humane Society of the United States, said:
“People want to emulate celebrities they admire. When somebody like Justin Bieber is irresponsible and goes out and gets a pet monkey, he sets a very bad example … He seems to be a little bit out of control.”
Leahy added that no primate species should ever be kept as a pet, and said it critical that they stayed with their own kind for their psychological well-being especially as they get older and become more aggressive and difficult to deal with.
Further fury came from the German Animal Protection Society who said Bieber shouldn’t be allowed to take his monkey back for the sake of the pet’s welfare.
The group’s president Thomas Schroeder said in a statement Wednesday that the singer should also publicly apologize on Twitter for bringing Mally into the country without the proper paperwork.
“In the interest of animal welfare, he should absolutely not be allowed to keep the illegally imported pet,” Schroder wrote. “He should use his influence on Facebook and Twitter to say he’s sorry and do more in future to champion animal protection.”
Another animal welfare group called Animal Public has also taken aim at the pop star. Laura Zimprich, spokesman for the group said in a statement today:
“Mally is only 14 weeks old. Separating her from her mother and taking a living cuddly toy on tour can only be described as animal cruelty.”
The latest round of Bieber criticism comes after a top Australian vet described his decision to fly a baby monkey around the world as “monstrous.”
Kurt Grabenwoeger said: “These monkeys not only need to be with their mothers for at least a year, but they should also be surrounded by their family group. They are living creatures — not celebrity accessories like a handbag.”
“Imagine a human baby sent off on a world tour at ten weeks — would anyone allow that?”
Bieber, who is currently paying for Mally’s board and treatment, still faces a fine of up to $17,000 for breaking German’s animal import laws.
The singer is currently locked into a extensive world tour. According to The Guardian, neither Bieber nor his representatives have as yet contacted the animal sanctuary, but several zoos have offered to open their doors to Mally if the pop star misses his deadline.