Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals)

Animal licensing

From 1 October 2018, new animal licensing legislation comes into force.

The following animal related activities will be covered by the new legislation and an Animal Activity Licence will be required, please click on the activity to find the guidance for the new licence:

All businesses operating under the previous licensing regime will be able to continue to operate under the terms of their existing licence until it expires on 31st December 2018.

Animal Activity Licences issued under the new legislation have nationally set mandatory conditions, which cannot be changed. Existing businesses will have to ensure that they can comply with the licence conditions and this will be checked before the licence is issued.

Please note that these conditions cannot be changed as they are set in the new Regulations (PDF 208kB).

Application process:

To apply for a licence please download the relevant application form along with the applicant profile form and the standard declaration form. These can be emailed to

The new legislation includes a change to the way fees and charges (PDF 118kB) are set for these licences.


All premises will be inspected before a licence is granted to ensure that all licence conditions can be met. We will also be looking to ensure that the applicant demonstrates the following:

  • A specialist knowledge in the species that they are caring for and a clear understanding of its needs and welfare. This includes the animals' mental and physical health, feeding and knowledge of environmental enrichment. The applicant should be able to   demonstrate that they have researched and followed expert guidance in order to carry out their role.
  • Comprehensive records that contain all the information required by the conditions that apply to their particular activities.
  • An understanding of risks involved in caring for the animal, including an extensive risk assessment and written policies and procedures that are reviewed regularly. These documents should be available for the inspector to examine.
  • Training procedures in place to make sure staff know what is expected of them, and clear evidence of good supervision of staff.

Based on the information, we will assess the premises, carry out a risk rating and award a star rating.  Low-risk premises can attain up to five stars, and premises that have been assessed as higher risk can be awarded up to four stars.

Further updates will be published as they are received from DEFRA.

Contact us:

Online contact form

Telephone: 01923 278503

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