Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Changes to legislation →
On 1st October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (external link) came into force. This legislation has changed the way certain activities involving animals is licensed and regulated - this includes keeping or training animals for exhibition.

If you keep or train animals for exhibition, you may need an animal activity licence. To obtain a licence, you need to ensure that you meet the specific licence conditions.

Do I need a licence?

You will need a licence if you are:

  • A business which keeps animals for exhibition, either for entertainment or educational purposes. This includes mobile animal exhibits that visit schools, weddings, private parties, fairs and other events where an audience is present
  • Running pony parties where the ponies are not ridden.
  • A business which keep animals for exhibition via electronic media, for example, animals used in films or TV
  • A business which trains animals for exhibition, either to an audience or via electronic media
  • Exhibiting domestic animals in a circus.
  • Any business based outside of England that brings in an animal for exhibition. These businesses must apply to the first authority in which they will be performing or where the animals are to be kept for the duration of their stay.

For further guidance visit GOV.UK (external link).

When do I NOT need a licence?

You will NOT need a licence if you are:

  • Agents who organise for the exhibition of animals, but do not own them or train them themselves and thus have limited or no contact with the animals. Agents who arrange for the supply of animals for an exhibit should ensure all keepers and trainers are licensed and comply with the regulations
  • An animal show where animals are exhibited (e.g. Crufts, animal trade shows). If individual participants are in the business of exhibiting animals and receive a fee for doing so, they will need to have a licence, but the show itself does not require a licence as it is not responsible for the animals exhibited
  • Training or exhibiting animals for military or police purposes (i.e. training police dogs, demonstrations of police/military dogs at fairs)
  • A registered charity that exhibits animals as part of their charitable work, unless such registered charities are running this element of their operations as a commercial activity.
  • Training or exhibiting animals for sporting purposes, for example, horse racing and greyhound racing
  • Exhibiting wild animals within a licensed circus.
  • A licensed zoo.

Fees

To find out how much your animal activity licence will cost, see:

How to apply

Inspections

We are required to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities take place before we can approve an application.

As part of your inspection, you will be given a rating based on specific criteria.

What do I do if I already have a licence?

Before the expiry date of your licence, you will need to make an application for a licence under the new regulations.

You are advised to familiarise yourself with the new licence conditions to ensure you are able to comply with these before making a new application - see further guidance on complying with the new conditions (external link).

Public register

We maintain a public register of all the businesses which hold an animal activity licence, a copy of which is available below. This will be updated on a regular basis.

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