Animal licensing

Apply for a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition

Under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018, a licence is required to keep or train animals for exhibitions as part of a business.

When is a licence needed?

A licence is required if you are:

  • keeping or training animals to be exhibited for education or entertainment as part of a business

This includes situations where:

  • an audience is attending in person
  • images are recorded that are displayed as part of a business

Examples include:

  • mobile animal exhibits that visit schools, fetes, private functions
  • pony parties where the ponies are not ridden
  • exhibiting domestic animals in a circus - wild animals cannot be exhibited or used in a performance as part of a travelling circus in England

Are there any exceptions?

The following examples are considered out of scope and do not require a licence:

  • Registered charities are exempt unless this element is run as a commercial activity
  • People who organise shows where animals are exhibited, such as Crufts and animal trade shows
  • Training or exhibiting animals for military or police purposes, such as training police dogs or showing them at fairs
  • Training or exhibiting animals for sports, such as horse or greyhound racing
  • Licensed zoos

What do I need to consider?

Full details are available in the guidance notes below: 

Please note the following that may be of special interest:    

  • This is automatically a three year licence and is not subject to the star rating
  • Public liability insurance is required for this activity
  • If a business is based outside England and brings in an animal for exhibition, they must apply to either the:
    • first authority where they will be performing
    • authority where the animals will be kept for the duration of their stay

How to apply

Complete the following online form:

Apply for an animal activity licence

How to pay

The application fee is payable when you have completed the online form. Only the application fee needs to be paid at this time. The grant fee for the issue of the licence is payable following inspection.


Exhibiting animals

  • Application fee including renewals - £160.00
  • Additional costs - Vet fees where applicable throughout the duration of the licence. Recharged at cost.
  • Licence grant fee for three years - £330.00

Variation of licence

  • Application fee - £80.00
  • Vets fees where applicable and recharged at cost plus £85 inspection fee if required.

Minor variation

  • Minor administrative change (for example, name change or additional carer name) - £20.00

Transfer due to death of licensee

  • Application fee - £80.00

Re-evaluation of star rating

  • Application fee - £49.60
  • Inspection fee - £93.70

Copy of licence

  • Application fee - £11.60

Combination of licensable activities

  • Application fee - Highest fee combined with 50% of lowest application fee.
  • Additional costs - Vets fees as required recharged at cost.
  • Licence grant fee for one year - Highest fee combined with 50% of lowest application fee.
  • Licence grant fee for two years - Highest fee combined with 50% of lowest application fee.
  • Licence grant fee for three years - Highest fee combined with 50% of lowest application fee.

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