Keeping or Training Animals for Exhibition

A licence is required for keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business for educational or entertainment purposes to any person attending in person or by the recording of visual images of them by any form of technology that enables the display of such images.

The definition of business is whether the operator:

  • makes any sale by, or otherwise carries on, the activity with a view to making a profit, or
  • earns any commission or fee from the activity.

Examples include mobile animal exhibits visiting schools, weddings, private parties and fairs, pony parties where the horses are not ridden, animals used in films or TV, exhibiting domestic animals in a circus or any business outside of England that brings in animals for exhibition. 

If you are unsure whether you need a licence then please contact the Licensing Authority who will advise as to whether a licence is required or not based on your individual circumstances.

The hiring of horses is regulated by the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018 which came into force in October 2018.

Please view our public register to see the licensed premises in South Derbyshire. 

If you holding an event that involves the exhibition of animals, you would need to see the exhibitor’s licence before the animals can be showed at the event.

Applying for a licence

Any individual can apply for a licence if they can demonstrate that they are:

  • a fit and proper person;
  • not disqualified from holding a licence (in accordance with Regulation 11 and Schedule 8).

Apply for a keeping or training animals for exhibition licence. (pdf, 281kb)

You will need to submit the application fee at the same time as your application. For details of fees, please see the fees and charges page of our website.

A plan and any required procedures/policies must be submitted with the application form.

Once your licence has been granted, you will have to submit a licence fee before the licence is issued to you.

If you are applying for more than one licensable activity at a time then there is an additional application fee to be paid on application.

Tacit consent will not apply as it is in the public interest that the application is processed before it can be granted.

We aim to process your application within 10 weeks of receiving a complete application.  If this target is not met then the application is not automatically granted.  This means that you can’t hire out horses until a licence has been issued.

What happens once I’ve submitted my application?

Once we have received your application, we will contact you to arrange an inspection.

During an inspection, we will check that you comply with the standard conditions and the specific conditions for keeping or training animals for exhibition.

You will need to meet all conditions (pdf, 616kb) to be granted a licence.

The conditions require you to keep and maintain documents and records.

How long will the licence last for?

The licence will last 3 years.

Once the licence has been granted, Officers will carry out an unannounced inspection of the premises during the course of the licence to ensure that the conditions are still being met.

How do I make any changes to the licence?

If you would like to make any changes to your licence i.e. add or remove animals at the premises under the licence then you can apply (docx, 109kb) to vary the licence.

A fee is payable.

The application process is the same as for a new application.

How do I renew my licence?

A reminder letter will be sent out three months before the expiry of your licence.  As it may take up to 10 weeks to process your application, you are advised to submit your renewal application in plenty of time.

You will not be permitted to trade once your licence has expired if the renewal application hasn’t been determined.

What if my licence is refused?

The licence will be refused if:

  • the applicant can't meet the licence conditions;
  • the granting of a licence will have a negative impact on animal welfare;
  • the level of accommodation, staffing, or management is inadequate for the well-being of animals.

A licence cannot be issued to an applicant who is disqualified.

There is a right of appeal to a First-tier Tribunal within 28 days of the decision notice.

The new Regulations introduce a range of enforcement powers to allow us to issue a suspension, variation or revocation notice where conditions are not being complied with i.e. there is a breach of the regulations or issues relating to the protection of the welfare of an animal.

How do I vary my licence?

If you wish to vary your licence, please complete the attached application form (pdf, 56kb) and submit to the Licensing Department along with the fee and any supporting documents.

On receipt of an application, an Officer will be in contact to arrange an inspection.  A full inspection of the whole premises will be carried out to ensure compliance with the conditions and guidance.  The premises will be re-rated which can lead to a lower or higher rating being awarded. 

After the inspection, a decision will be made as to whether a licence will be granted or not.