Licence for keeping or training animals for exhibition
All licences will be issued for three years. You need a licence if you provide as part of your business:
- Keeping 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.
- Pony parties where the ponies are not ridden (if ridden, you require a licence for hiring out horses).
- Businesses which keep animals for exhibition via electronic media, for example, animals used in films or TV.
- Businesses which train 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.
Activities that don't need a licence
- 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.
- Animal shows 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).
- Registered charities that exhibit animals as part of their charitable work, unless such registered charities are in practice 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.
- Licensed zoos.
Defra guidance document
You should read the procedural and applicable activity guidance documents which we will refer to during the application process. They detail the higher standards you will need to meet to get a higher star rating and longer lasting licence.