Training or keeping of animals for exhibition

What is included in 'training or keeping an animal for exhibition', how to apply and pay for an exhibition licence, who else you need to contact, how to renew your licence, who regulates training and exhibition of animals and what happens if you don't apply.

What is included in 'keeping or training animals for exhibition'?

If you keep or train any animal in the course of a business for educational or entertainment purposes, you will require a licence.

Exhibiting means either showing the animals in person to an audience of people or by the use of visually recorded images, that enables the display of the animals for example web cameras.

The following activities will not require a licence:

  • Keeping or training of animals solely for military, police or sporting purposes

  • Activities permitted under a travelling circus licence issued under Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012

  • Any activity permitted under a zoo licence.

Do I require a licence for keeping or training my animals for exhibition?

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) England Regulations 2018 requires that all persons who exhibit or train animals for educational or entertainment purposes who meet the above definition must hold a licence with the local authority where the animals are kept.

Are there any conditions to the licence?

Any person licensed for keeping or training animals for exhibition will need to comply with the Animal Welfare (licensing of activities involving animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

Animal Welfare (licensing of activities involving animals) (England) Regulations (pdf 278kb)

GOV.UK - Guidance for Keeping or Training Animal (external website)

Any training or performance must be carried out without cruelty to any animal.

How do I apply for or renew a licence?

If you wish to apply for an animal activity licence for keeping or training animals for exhibition or renew an existing licence, you can complete the online form below

Please note: the online form will require a payment at the end. If you fail to make payment online the form will not be received by the licensing team for consideration.'

Apply online for an animal activities licence

Alternatively you can complete the hard copy form below and submit the below application form by email

Application for a licence to keep or train animals for exhibition (word 246kb)

Once completed you must submit within 7 days either by email or hard copy all required supporting documents to:


or by printed hard copy to:

The Licensing Team
County Hall
Cross Street
East Riding of Yorkshire
HU17 9BA.

Any incomplete application will not be considered and will be returned and a refund of the fee issued after 7 days.

Animal Activities Licence Fees April 2023-24 (pdf 143kb)

Once a licence is issued it will last for 3 years.

If you are new to the whole or an area of animal activities licensing and require advice and guidance on applying for a Training or Keeping of Animal Exhibition licence, we offer a pre-application advice service. The fee for this service is £107 plus VAT.

Please note: we cannot offer pre-application advice to any person who is subject to compliance/intervention or enforcement action by the Licensing Team.

If you would like to book a pre-application advice meeting please email:

Who else may I need to contact?

If you wish to build accommodation for your animals you may need to contact the council's planning section.

How do I change my licence?

If you wish to change your licence, you will need to email the licensing authority:


Who regulates performing animals?

If a business holds a licence it should be on display in a prominent position at the premises.

The licence is regulated by the Licensing Authority.

Last updated 08 August 2023.

If you have concerns about premises operating under a licence, or if you have a complaint or would like to report a business that you're concerned is operating without a licence you can contact the licensing authority:


What happens if I do not apply for a performing animals registration?

If you do not hold a valid licence for training or exhibiting animals you may be prosecuted.

Penalties will vary, the most serious offences could incur a fine of up to £20,000 and/or 51 weeks imprisonment.

Powers will be available to impose disqualification orders banning a person from owning or looking after animals and either dealing or transporting animals.

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