Toronto Animal Services to Justin Bieber: Don’t Exhibit Exotic Animals

Published by Jennifer Bates.

Animals aren’t ours to use for entertainment—although it’s a simple enough statement, Justin Bieber repeatedly struggles to understand its meaning.

Back in April, the pop star horrified many “Beliebers” when he posted photos to Instagram of himself petting an adult tiger on a chain. The tiger and other animals were cruelly being used as living props at Bieber’s father’s engagement party in Toronto, and PETA soon learned that some of the animals had been taken there from the notorious Bowmanville Zoo.

A photo posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

PETA filed a complaint with Toronto Animal Services (TAS) regarding the zoo’s exhibition of animals at the party. Soon afterward, Biebs again shared photos of himself posing with an exotic animal, this time a lion cub who had apparently been taken backstage at his Toronto concert by millionaire Alex Haditaghi. Once again, PETA urged TAS to investigate the apparent violation.

We recently learned that TAS submitted official notices of violation to Bieber, Haditaghi, and the Bowmanville Zoo. These notices informed the recipients that TAS had reason to believe that violations of municipal code had occurred and also warned that any future incidents could result in legal action, including seizure of the animals.

Whether it’s on a temporary or permanent basis, the Toronto Municipal Code expressly prohibits keeping certain animals—such as the tiger, lemur, and camel shown at the engagement party—within the city. Violators are subject to fines of up to $5,000.

TAS’ notice requires immediate and ongoing compliance with this code. We’ll stay on the case to ensure that no subsequent, presumed violations occur.

What You Can Do

Pledge not to attend any event that involves forcing animals to perform.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind