Exhibiting Animals Licence


You will need to register with us if you keep or train animals for public performance or exhibition such as:

  • circus
  • television
  • theatre
  • film production
  • animal contact

You don’t need to register if you train or exhibit animals for use by the military, police or for agriculture or sport. You only need to register once and the certificate will be valid until cancelled by you or us (or revoked by the Court). The Register is a public document and is open for inspection at reasonable times at the Council Offices. What happens once I have applied?

You will be visited by us and/or by a Veterinary Surgeon to inspect the conditions that the animals are to be kept and/or trained. Your registration will only be confirmed once animal welfare conditions have been met. To vary the registration certificate you will need to contact us. Your premises will be subject to ‘spot checks’ by us and/or a Veterinary Surgeon.

For more information about The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 please view the National Archives website.

Performing Animals on Council Land

It is our current policy to not allow circuses which include performing animals on council land.

On 1st October 2018 The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 come into force.

These regulations will replace a number of existing pieces of legislation set to be repealed at the end of 2018 and will provide a new single licensing regime for a number of animal licensing activities.

The following activities will need to be licensed under the new regime:

  • Providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs (including home boarding and day care)
  • Selling animals as pets
  • Hiring out horses
  • Breeding dogs
  • Keeping or training animals for exhibition

The new Regulations will set nationally applicable conditions that licence holders must comply with. A ratings system will be introduced whereby licence holders will be given a rating dependant on specified criteria. Current licence holders are advised to review their compliance with the new conditions. 

Fees will be determined by the authority. 

The new legislation will not affect you if you currently have either of the following licences:

Zoo Licences (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981)

Dangerous Wild Animal Licences (under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976).

The new legislation will affect you if you currently have any of the following types of licence:

  • Animal Boarding Establishment Licence (under the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963)
  • Dog Breeding Licence (under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & 1991; Breeding & Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999)
  • Riding Establishment Licence (under the Riding Establishments Act 1964 & 1970)
  • Pet Shop Licence (under the Pet Animals Act 1951) 
  • keeping or training of animals for exhibition (under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925)

Businesses operating under any of the above existing licences will be able to continue to trade until the expiry date of their current licence. All applications to renew licences will be under the new legislation. 

The new licence will be known as an 'Animal Activity Licence' and will include nationally set licence conditions for businesses providing animal related services.

Information and paperwork regarding the new licence application process will be sent to existing licensed businesses prior to the expiry of the current licence. 

In the case of holders of registration under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925, the current registration will expire on 31 March 2019.

The Regulations can be found by visiting The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 (external link)

Existing licence holders who wish to renew a licence will need to apply for a licence under the new legislation 10 weeks before the existing licence is due to expire. (We will be sending out initial renewal reminders to all existing businesses on 1 October 2018). 

Once the application has been received, the information provided will be examined and then arrangements will be made to visit the premises to carry out an inspection by the Licensing Officers and the Council’s veterinary consultant if appropriate. All businesses engaged in providing animal related services will need to comply with the new licence conditions. The new legislation will also require that an assessment will be undertaken, of any premises providing animal related services for financial gain, before a licence is granted.

New Animal Activity Licence conditions

Guidance on the new licence conditions is available in the following documents:

Commercial Dog Boarding - Kennels

Commercial Cat Boarding - Catteries

Commercial Home Boarding

Commercial Dog Day-care

Commercial Pet Vending

Commercial Dog Breeding

Animal Exhibits

It is important that Licence holders understand the Guidance relevant to their business.


To apply for an Exhibiting Animals Licence or to renew your current licence you must use our online form.

In order for you to be able to apply online you will need to create a MySouthend account. Our new online process makes applying and renewing Exhibiting Animals Licences quicker and easier. As part of the ongoing modernisation of our licensing service, you can now create an online account. This means that you can apply for or renew, vary or transfer an existing licence and track its progress during the application process.

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