Performing animals

Licensing of Activities Involving Animals

The Animal Welfare (England) Regulations 2018

Performing animal registration

You can apply and pay for this licence online, payment can be made by debit or credit card. For current prices, see: Licence fees .

Register for the exhibition or training of performing animals

Variation of the exhibition or training of performing animals registration

Planning requirements

Before applying for a Performing Animal Registration you need to check whether your premises have the necessary planning permissions to operate the business. Further advice and guidance can be sought from Planning Services, e-mail:

Will tacit authorisation apply?


What happens next

On receipt of an application, whether it is a new application or an alteration, an Officer from the Local Authority will contact you within 10 working days and make an appointment to visit your premises.

In determining whether to grant a registration (or not) the Local Authority will consider the following issues:

  • the performing animals are obtained from a reputable source to minimise the risk of disease;
  • the appropriate measures will be taken to protect the animals in case of fire or other emergency including the provision of suitable fire fighting equipment;
  • that the register contains the types of animal to be used in performances, both to be trained and exhibited;
  • that health and safety checks are carried out for both the animals and staff.

These are 'without prejudice' to our discretion to refuse a licence on any other grounds.

General information

If you train performing animals, such as for advertising or a circus, you must register with the Council.

The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 requires any person who exhibits or trains any performing (vertebrate) animal to be registered with a local authority.

The term exhibit is defined as 'exhibit at any entertainment to which the public are admitted, whether on payment of money or otherwise…' and to train means 'for the purpose of any such exhibition'.

This provision, applies to circuses and also to other situations, such as filmmaking and plays, which involve animal performances.

A person who exhibits or trains a performing animal (e.g. circuses, cabarets, film making etc), must be registered.

Performing animal registration

Every person who wishes to use animals to perform must first: register. The registration for the performance of animals is controlled under the Performing Animals Regulation Act 1925.

No person should engage in the performance of animals without having carried out a risk assessment by a competent person.

Sound advice should be obtained from the following:

  • trained animal handlers
  • veterinarians
  • zoos
  • university departments.

It is the duty of the applicant to ensure that staff are given prior warning if they are to work with animals in case of phobias or allergies.

Information should be made available to every person concerned regarding controls such as feeding, avoiding disturbance, what to do in an emergency and the health risks particularly to expectant mother caused by animal infections.

Every person who wishes to use animals to perform must first register with the local council and will have to pay a fee for this service.

Any person that is not required to manage the animals should be kept well clear of the performing area and the animals.

It is important that the length of time animals spend performing should be kept to a minimum.

Any equipment used e.g. hay or straw, should be treated and fireproofed.

First aid should always be on hand.

Offences and penalties

The following offences apply to any person who:

  • not being registered, exhibits or trains any performing animals;
  • being registered, trains or exhibits any animal that is not registered, or in a manner that has not been registered;
  • obstructs or delays a Local Authority Officer, or Police Officer, in the execution of their duties under the Act, with regard to entry and inspection;
  • conceals any animal with a view to avoiding such inspection;
  • fails to produce a registration certificate when required to do so;
  • applies to be registered under this Act when prohibited from being registered.

The maximum penalty for any offence under the Act is a fine of £1,000.

See also