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Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition

The Animal Welfare (Licencing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

Changes have been made to improve the existing animal licencing regulations. These changes aim to simplify the application and inspection process for businesses and improve existing animal welfare animal standards.

The updated regulations are called the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.  

The changes came into effect on 1 October 2018.

Further information and guidance

Who can apply for a licence?

Any fit and proper person who is not disqualified from keeping animals may apply.

A licence cannot be granted to people who are disqualified from:

  • keeping a breeding establishment for dogs
  • keeping a pet shop
  • keeping animals
  • keeping a boarding establishment for animals

Is planning permission required?

We recommend that you discuss your proposals with our Planning team to decide whether a planning application is needed.


Apply to keep or train animals for exhibition (Word document)

Apply to keep or train animals for exhibition (alternative PDF document version)

How much does a licence cost?

Fees will be payable for applications.

Pay for a new application or renewal online

Please note you need to submit an application form as well as make the payment.


All premises will be inspected before the licence is granted. The inspector will be looking to make sure the applicant has the following:

  • A specialist knowledge of the species you are caring for
  • A clear understanding of its needs and welfare (this includes the mental and physical health of the animal, feeding and environmental requirements). The applicant should be able to demonstrate that the necessary research has been carried out, and expert guidance has been followed
  • Comprehensive records containing all the information required by the conditions relevant to the applicant
  • An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal. This includes an extensive risk assessment, as well as written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the inspector to examine
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them
  • Clear evidence of good supervision of staff
  • The applicant's premises will also be assessed, to make sure that the new laws relating to the physical environment in which the animals will be kept are met

How long does a licence last?

Under the new legislation, licences are valid for three years. 

What can I do if my licence application is refused?

If your application is refused, you can apply to the magistrates' court.

Public Register

Animal Licence Register (Babergh)

Animal Licence Register (Mid Suffolk)