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Animal Welfare Licence

Record details


The Government has recently published new the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 under section 13 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The effect of the new regulations is to replace some existing licensing regimes and to put in place a new licensing regime to control the following “licensable activities”:

  • selling animals as pets
  • providing or arranging for the provision of boarding for cats or dogs
  • hiring out horses
  • breeding dogs
  • keeping or training animals for exhibition

The regulations came into effect on 1 October 2018 and introduce a new licensing regime to replace the licensing and registration regimes that were in place under the following legislation:

  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Riding Establishments Acts 1964 & 1970
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 & Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999  
  • Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

If you have a licence under one of the above pieces of legislation that is in force on 1 October 2018, it will continue to be valid until it is due to expire. You will then need to apply for a licence under the new regulations.

The new regulations do not have any impact on the licensing of those who keep dangerous wild animals or operate zoos. Licences for these activities will continue to be issued under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and the Zoo Licensing Act 1981.

We will be writing to all existing licence holders later this year to invite them to apply for a licence under the new regulations. Ideally your application for a licence under the new regulations, should be made no later than 10 weeks before your licence under the existing laws is due to expire to allow time for the application to be dealt with.

What you need to do

The Department for Food, Environmental and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued guidance which you will need to comply with by 31 December 2018.

Read guidance information

Apply for an Animal Welfare licence