Exhibition of Animals

Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition


The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 ("the regulations") came into force on 1 October 2018 and covers keeping or training animals for exhibition.

What is "keeping or training animals for exhibition"?

The legislation defines it as keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business for educational or entertainment purposes to any audience. This includes attending in person or by the recording of visual images of animals by any form of technology that enables the display of such images.

To determine if you are a business, you will need to consider the 'business test'.

Applying the business test

A business is defined in the legislation as an operator who:

  1. Makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  2. Earns any commission or fee from the activity

The Government announced in the Budget Review of 2016 a new allowance of £1,000 for trading income from April 2017. Anyone falling under this threshold would not need to be considered on the context of determining whether they are a business.

The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) states that these conditions are not the exclusive factors to be considered but are examples and other factors, such as those listed in the nine badges of trade set out by the HMRC are also relevant. The guidance assists inspectors, but ultimately there is an element of judgement in deciding upon the business test.

Please also read the considerations for the business test below. If you are not sure if you are classed a business, please email Licensing Team with the details of your business and we can help determine this.

When do you require a licence?

The listed activities require a licence:

  • 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.
  • Pony parties where the ponies are not ridden.
  • 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.

When do you not require a licence?

The listed activities do not require a licence:

  • keeping or training animals solely for military, police or sporting purposes
  • any activity permitted under a licence to operate a travelling circus under the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012(2), or
  • any activity permitted on site under a licence for a zoo under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981(3)

Make an application

The fee for this application can be found onthe animal welfare fees page. We will contact you to take payment once we have received a fully completed application.

Please Note: Only pay the application fee associated with the type of Licence you are applying for first. The Compliance fees are paid after the application is determined.

Before completing the form make sure you have all the supporting documentation ready - applications without all supporting documents will not be accepted

  • Plan of the premises
  • Insurance Policy
  • Written operating procedures to include emergency plan, staff training policy
  • Risk assessments (including fire)
  • Management of the following - feeding, cleaning, transportation, disease control, health and welfare, death or escape
  • Staff qualifications
  • Staff Training/experience records

Apply online for a Performing Animals licence (new or renewal)

If you don't wish to apply online you can complete and submit thePerforming Animals licence application form and above documents by email or post.

Please contact the Licensing Team if you have any questions with the application form


Legislation and Guidance

Please refer to the legislation and relevant guidance when you make your application which can be found on theCFSG website.

Check for a licence and rating

When choosing an establishment, ensure you choose a licensed establishment.  All new animal welfare licence holders must clearly display their licence on their premises and display their name and licence number on any website they use. 

The new licence also contains a star rating which the business has achieved. We recommend the display of the star rating on any website, but this is not a legal requirement.

Raise a concern

If you have any concerns about premises in Breckland, please email Licensing Team with details of the premises or if urgent call 01362 656870. Clearly state your concerns and your reason for them. All matters of concern will be investigated and complaints are kept confidential.




Last updated: 06/05/2022 13:52:12