Performing animals licence

How to apply for a licence to exhibit, use or train performing animals.

Where to apply for a licence

If you exhibit, use or train performing animals, you must be licensed with the authority where you live.

Who needs a licence?

The licence only applies to animals with a backbone or spinal column (vertebrate). Invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans and molluscs are not covered by the law.

It does not apply to the training or exhibition of animals for military, police, agricultural or sporting purposes.

Applications must contain details about the species of the animals and the type and duration of performances they are to take part in.

Licences are issued under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 and are open-ended.


£41.60 (you can make amendments to any existing registration at no further cost). Payment can be made electronically by any debit or credit card issued by a bank in the EEA.


You can expect your licence to be processed within seven working days.

Does tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us by the end of the target completion period.

How to apply

Problems and how to appeal

Contact us if you have any problems prior to your application, after you have applied or if your application failed or wish to appeal the decision.


Use this online form to tell us about any changes you need to your licence.

Apply online to change an existing licence.

Complaints about a person or trader licensed by us

In the event of a complaint contact the trader, preferably in the form of a letter (with proof of posting/delivery). If that fails and you are located in the UK, contact Consumer Direct for advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress

A police officer or officer of the local authority may make a complaint to the local magistrates' court if they feel that animals have been subject to cruelty.

More information

The Royal Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPC) have produced a set of guidelines for the welfare of performing animals.