Thursday, December 20, 2012 6:48am ET by  
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Justin Bieber accused of animal cruelty by the California Hamster Association

Justin Bieber has been criticised by an animal group after giving a hamster to a fan.

Earlier this year, the 'Boyfriend' star appeared to take a new friend on tour - a hamster called PAC.

The adorable rodent was seen pictured with his loving guardian and fans soon gave the animal cult status.

However, it emerged that Bieber gifted a fan - who later named herself as Victoria Blair - PAC in a cage outside Atlanta's recent Jingle Ball gig in a scrum of crazed Beliebers.

The California Hamster Association, however, told TMZ that the singer was cruel to PAC by giving him away to screaming fans, adding that hamsters "often succumb quickly to illness and death" when their environment rapidly changes.

They continued: "The moment that hamster was handed off to a screaming girl in a harsh, frenzied environment was likely the moment it gazed at the short path to its doom."

PAC, however, is said to be doing fine, with Blair tweeting that "PAC is awesome and I love him".

The new owner also recently tweeted that the hamster took its first steps outside as it enjoys life away from hustle and bustle of fame.

Watch Bieber gifting PAC to a fan below: