Justin Bieber has come under fire from animal rights campaigners who have branded him "irresponsible" for keeping a pet monkey.

The Baby singer hit headlines last month (Mar13) when his Capuchin monkey, Mally, was seized by officials in Germany and placed in quarantine amid allegations Bieber attempted to take the animal into the country without proper paperwork.

The monkey remains in captivity in Berlin as Bieber continues the European leg of his Believe tour, and animal rights campaigners have now spoken out to insist the teenager is setting a bad example to fans by keeping the exotic animal as a pet.

Debbie Leahy, of the Humane Society of the United States, says, "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 insists monkeys kept as pets can turn on their owners and she urges parents of Bieber's impressionable young fans not to let them ape his behaviour.

She adds, "No primate species should ever be kept as a pet. They have very special needs. These are highly social animals. They need to be kept with others of their own kind; that's just critical to their psychological well-being...

"All primate species can become aggressive. A lot of times when the primate reaches sexual maturity, it becomes extremely aggressive, unpredictable - bouncing off the walls in the house, destroying everything. It ends up being confined for the rest of its life in a little cage in the basement, or (the owner) looks to dump it..."

Bieber has yet to claim his monkey from quarantine, and officials insist he has four weeks to pick up the primate before it is re-homed. He faces a fine of more than $16,000 (£10,000) for allegedly breaking Germany's import laws.