Apply to keep an animal for entertainment or education

You may need a licence if your business keeps animals to show to an audience, like at schools or private parties.

When you need a performing animal licence

You need a licence from us if you run:

  • businesses that keep animals for exhibition, either for entertainment or education, this includes mobile animal exhibits that visit schools, weddings, private parties, fairs and other events where there's an audience 
  • pony parties where people do not ride the ponies
  • businesses that keep animals for exhibition on electronic media, like animals used in film or TV
  • businesses that train animals for exhibition, either to an audience or on electronic media
  • a circus that uses domestic animals in its shows
  • any business based outside England that brings in an animal for exhibition, you must apply to the first authority where they'll be performing or where you keep the animals for the duration of their stay

You do not need a performing animal licence to:

  • organise the exhibition of animals that you do not own or train yourself, if you arrange the supply of animals for an exhibit you should make sure all keepers and trainers have a licence and follow the regulations
  • run animal shows where animals are on display, like Crufts
  • operate a registered charity that shows animals as part of their charitable work, unless they're doing it to make money
  • train or show animals for sporting purposes, like horse racing 
  • show wild animals in a licensed circus
  • run a licensed zoo

Find out more from the government's national animal licensing guidance and the RSPCA's welfare for performing animals guidance.

Apply for a licence

Find out how much your animal business licence will cost.

Download the performing animal licence application form.

Return your application form to:

Animal Wardens
Brighton & Hove City Council
2nd Floor Bartholomew House
Bartholomew Square

You can also send an email to or phone 01273 294 266.