Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition

The definition of keeping or training animals for exhibition in the regulations is keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business for educational or entertainment…

The definition of keeping or training animals for exhibition in the regulations is keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business for educational or entertainment purposes:

  • To any audience attending in person
  • By the recording of visual images of them by any form of technology that enables the display of such images

Do I Need A Licence?

You need a licence from the council if you conduct activities that fulfil one or more of the following:

  • 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 I Not Need A Licence?

Activities that do not require 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.
  • 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.

How To Apply

Read the Statutory Guidance and Conditions.

Complete the application form, and return with the relevant supporting document and application fee.

Guidance and procedure notes can be found in Useful Links.

If you wish to pay online - Click here to make payment and quote payment reference on the application.

We recommend you contact our Planning Department to determine whether a planning application is required.

Application Process

Before a licence can be issued, an officer will arrange to visit your home or premises to carry out a risk assessment, and to see how you look after the animals in your care.

The officer is required to establish whether the mandatory conditions that will be attached to a licence can be complied with. The officer will also assess the applicant to ensure they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activities.

Once the above matters have been considered, a star rating will be issued, ranging from 1 to 5 stars. Depending on the star rating, the licence will be issued for 1, 2 or 3 years.

Business Support

We offer a range of business regulatory support services which may be of assistance. These are available to help assist businesses to be more successful and compliant.

Premises with lower star ratings

A premise with a lower star rating is not necessarily a premise to avoid, as other factors are also taken into consideration, such as the length of time the licence holder has been operating. New businesses will be assessed at a slightly higher risk because there is no history of good practice that can be considered.


The Council may refuse to:-

  • grant or renew a licence, or

  • revoke or vary a licence

Any person who is aggrieved by a decision may appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision.


Licence holders must submit renewal applications at least 12 weeks prior to the expiry of the licence. This enables the application to be accessed, and inspections carried out, so the activity can continue to operate without a break.


A6 Application for training and keeping animals for exhibition [docx / 44KB]

Useful links

Animal Welfare Licensing Procedural Guidance

Guidance notes for conditions on keeping or training animals for exhibition