Keeping or training animals for exhibition

Activities that fulfil one or more of the following criteria are subject to licensing:

  1. Businesses which keep 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.
  2. Pony parties where the ponies are not ridden.
  3. Businesses which keep animals for exhibition via electronic media, for example, animals used in films or TV.
  4. Businesses which train animals for exhibition, either to an audience or via electronic media.
  5. Exhibiting domestic animals in a circus.
  6. 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.

Guideline indicators of running a business of training or exhibiting animals. The following may assist consideration for the criteria listed above:

  • regularly exhibiting or training animals for a fee
  • infrequently exhibiting or training animals for a fee where the profit margin is high

Existing licence holders and anyone planning to apply for a licence should read the Animal Welfare (licensing of activities involving animals) Regulations 2018 and the DEFRA guidance.

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For more information, please contact us.

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Visits to the licensing service are by appointment only. Please call us on 01423 500600 or email at