Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens and the world’s largest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur, have entered into an agreement making Kopenhagen Fur the official partner of the amusement park’s ‘Christmas in Tivoli’ celebration for the next three years. The sponsorship will bring millions of kroner into Tivoli’s coffers.
“Tivoli is a strong partner,” Kopenhagen Fur managing director Torben Nielsen said in a statement. “We are also pleased to show fur garments to the many guests who visit ‘Christmas in Tivoli’ and showcase why Danish mink farmers are the world’s elite.”
Mink pelts represent one third of total Danish exports to China and Hong Kong, and over 6,000 Danes work in the fur-breeding industry.
Lars Liebst, Tivoli’s managing director, told Politiken newspaper, that the collaboration was a positive one for the park.
"In Tivoli, it is our mission to enchant our guests, and this new partnership will help us achieve this," Liebst told Politiken.
The partnership has not been as well received in other quarters, however. Thorbjørn Schiønning from the animal rights group Anima was stunned by the decision.
"I cannot believe that Tivoli seeks to profit from animal cruelty," Schiønning told Politiken. “It is strange that a brand associated with fun and games would partner with a company associated with animal cruelty.”
Schiønning said some Danish fur producers were seen neglecting basic animal welfare laws in a 2009 TV documentary and that Erik Hansen, who is a member of the board and former chairman of Kopenhagen Fur, was found guilty of animal abuse in 2011.
Anima said on its website that while Denmark is the world's largest producer of fur, with between 14 and 15 million minks being produced every year, a 2009 survey revealed that the majority of Danes think that the production should be banned.
Gitte Lakshøj, from the company Copenhagen Artificial Fur, said on Anima’s website that the new partnership reflected a change on Tivoli’s part. Her company made the suit for Tivoli’s Santa Claus a few seasons ago.
"We were told at the time that the issue of real fur costumes had been assessed by the board of Julemands Laug [the Danish Santa Claus Guild], and their position was clear: Santa Claus does not kill animals.”
Anima has joined other animal rights groups in calling for a boycott of Tivoli unless they drop the sponsorship.
Animal lovers have blanketed Tivoli’s Facebook page with angry messages.
"I am shocked to learn about Tivoli's deal with Kopenhagen Fur," one user wrote. "I personally feel it is a shame to put money above animal rights. I will never visit Tivoli again."
Others have posted pictures of bleeding animals from fur farms, asking if this is what they can expect to see at this year’s Christmas in Tivoli.
Stine Lolk, Tivoli's spokesperson, defended the company’s decision to partner with Kopenhagen Fur.
“We knew full well when we entered into this agreement that there are many opinions,” Lolk told DR News. “But we are confident that Kopenhagen Fur complies with all the rules.”
Lolk said that Kopenhagen Fur is known worldwide, and that Tivoli stands firm in its commitment to the deal.
Many of the comments on Tivoli's Facebook page have come due to the mobilisation of large animal welfare organisations like ‘Stop Cruelty’, which has 570,000 fans.
Tivoli's regular season concluded yesterday. It will be open for Halloween from October 12-28, and will open its gates for 'Christmas in Tivoli' on November 16.