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Exhibiting & Performing Animals

You need a license 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

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.

Please refer to the downloadable Keeping or Training animals for exhibitions Conditions and DEFRA guidance document for more information.

If your application is for a new or purpose-built premise, you’ll also need planning permission before your application can be considered.

Application & Fees

* Where an application relates to more than one activity, the higher licence application/Issue fee will apply and the additional activity fee will also be payable for each additional licensable activity applied for.
Licence Type 2022-23 PART A Application Fee  PART B Grant of Licence Fee Additional Cost to Applicant
Keeping / Training Animals for Exhibition 3 Year Licence (New / Renewal) £183 £53.50 Nil
Annual Inspection Fee £133 N/A Nil
Additional Licensable Activities* New / Renewal £84.50 N/A + Vets Fee if required
Variation to licence/re-evaluation of star rating - Animal Boarding / Selling Animals as Pets / Keeping animals for exhibition Variation £133 N/A  Nil
Minor Variation of Licence - fixed fee Variation £28 N/A  Nil
Transfer of Licence due to death of licensee - fixed fee Transfer £28 N/A Nil

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