9. Colchester Zoo
Colchester, England, U.K.
TripAdvisor review says: "So impressed with this fabulous zoo!! A must visit!!"
We say: Colchester Zoo has gained some notoriety for its repeated failure to safely contain the animals under its care. In the last few years alone, the zoo has allowed a pack of wolves, a lemur and an owl to escape. The lemur was safely recaptured but three of the escaped wolves were shot dead and the owl, who failed to come back during a flying display, was killed by a lion in a neighboring enclosure. The wolf escape was facilitated by a hole in the enclosure perimeter fence. The wolves paid with their lives for the zoo's failure to carry out basic maintenance.
9. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
Paignton, England, U.K.
TripAdvisor review says: "Fantastic zoo, we'll [sic] cared for animals and loads to do"
We say: Following on from the killing of a healthy giraffe named Marius in Copenhagen Zoo at the beginning of 2014, it was revealed that the number of healthy animals killed by European zoos each year was in the thousands. Despite the widespread public outrage at the revelation, the zoo industry was largely dismissive of the issue.
In a statement to press on the matter, the head of Paignton Zoo claimed that, in his view, the number of animals killed was "kind of irrelevant." He said that headlines which claim that "thousands of animals are killed in zoos every year" are misleading. He then immediately contradicted himself to say "Well OK, but you know most of those animals were rats or mice or something like that."
It is clear that, for Mr. Tonge, the deaths of some animals are simply not worthy of record, though it is not clear which species he deems to be unworthy of consideration, other than rats and mice.
10. La Palmyre Zoo
La Palmyre-Les Mathes, France
TripAdvisor review says: "Great day out."
We say: La Palmyre hosts daily sea lion shows, where the animals perform circus-style tricks to laughing and cheering zoo visitors. Like dolphin, whale and parrot shows, these degrading performances – which include the seals "singing" and playing musical instruments – have everything to do with soliciting cheap laughs and nothing to do with fostering respect and concern for animals. La Palmyre also promotes a polar bear exhibit. See comments on Prague Zoo, above.