Shropshire Council

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

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Licences to keep or train animals for exhibition are issued under the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Existing performing animals registrations issued under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 will remain valid until 1 April 2019, at which point they will expire. Anyone with an existing registration will be contacted by us prior to this date to arrange for an application to be made under the new regulations. Anyone looking to make a new application to keep or train animals for exhibition should use the application on this page.

The conditions attached to a keeping or training animals for exhibition licence are set out in the regulations. The conditions are mandatory and can't be added to, deleted or amended by us. You can find the conditions and the guidance which accompanies them in the 'Related documents' section of this page.

Who needs a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition?

  • Businesses which keep animals for exhibition, either for entertainment or educational purposes. This includes mobile animals 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 eg 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 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 the stay

Who doesn’t need a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition?

  • Agents who organise for the exhibition of the animals, but do not own them or train them themselves and thus have limited or no contact with the animals
  • Animal shows where animals are exhibited eg Crufts or animal trade shows
  • Training or exhibiting animals for military or police purposes eg training police dogs
  • Registered charities that exhibit animals as part of their charitable work
  • Training or exhibiting animals for sporting purposes, eg horse racing and greyhound racing
  • Exhibiting wild animals within a licensed circus
  • Licensed zoos

What is the ‘business test’?

The regulations specify two business tests to be considered when deciding if an activity is commercial, and therefore requires a licence. They're not the only method to determine if a licence is required, but we must take them into account when deciding if a licence is required.

  1. Does the operator make any sale, or otherwise carry on the activity, with a view to making a profit, or;
  2. Does the operator earn any commission or fee from the activity.

These two tests will be considered alongside the factors in the ‘Who needs a licence to breed dogs’ section when determining if a licence is required.

How long does a licence last?

Licences last for three years. Existing licence holders will receive a reminder from us three months before their licence is due for renewal with a renewal application pack enclosed. Renewal applications must be returned to us a minimum of ten weeks before the expiry date of the initial licence.

How do I apply for a licence?

If you'd like an advisory visit from a licensing officer prior to making your application, please contact the Licensing Team using the details on this page.

Download the application form from this page and complete all the relevant sections. Don’t leave any blank questions in the sections of the application that apply to you. If you don’t have anything to record in a particular question, put ‘none’ or ‘not applicable’.

Send the application to the Licensing Team by one of the methods on the front page of the form. You must send your application with all the required supporting documentation detailed in the application. If you submit an incomplete application or it doesn’t have all the necessary documentation with it the application will not be accepted.

You must send the application with the appropriate initial application fee. Applications submitted without the fee cannot be processed.

All new and renewal applications for keeping or training animals for exhibition licences are subject to an inspection by a licensing officer. Once your application has been validated an officer will contact you to arrange the necessary inspections.

Required standards and how to meet them

Please visit the website for the guidance on the required standards and how to meet them.

How much will it cost?

There is a fee for issuing this document, which is taken when you apply.

Apply now

Download the form, complete it on your home computer, and email it to

Download an application form

Download the form, print it out, fill it in and post your application along with the fee if applicable to:

The Licensing Team, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND

Download an application form