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Keeping or training animals for exhibition

On 1 October 2018, the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force. This legislation has changed the way certain activities involving animals are licensed and regulated. This includes the keeping or training animals for exhibition.

The new licence will be referred to as an ‘Animal Activity Licence’.

Do I need a licence?

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

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

  • 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 fulfil one or more of the following criteria are not subject to licensing:

  • 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

Making an application

On receipt of your application we will arrange to carry out an inspection of all premises where licensable activities are to take place before the application can be determined.


Licensing service

Municipal buildings, Corporation Street, Blackpool, FY1 1NF
Telephone 01253 478570

The licensing service is available to contact by telephone between 10:00am and 2:00pm Monday to Friday or visit in person by appointment only at the licensing desk at Blackpool Council's Customer First Centre on Corporation Street .