Keeping or training animals for exhibition licensing: statutory guidance for local authorities

This guidance is for local authority inspectors in England. You should read it alongside the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018.

To decide if an activity is covered by the regulations and needs a licence to operate, you should consider all of the following guidance.

All keeping or training animals for exhibition activities need a licence if they’re carried out as a commercial business.

To decide if an activity is a business and will need a licence, consider if the operator:

  • makes any sales or carries out the activity to make a profit
  • earns any commission or fee from the activity
  • often exhibits or trains animals for a fee, such as at dog shows like Crufts
  • does not often exhibit or train animals for a fee, but the profit margin is high

You should also consider HMRC’s 9 badges of trade.
If someone has a trading income below the HMRC trading income allowance, they do not require a licence for their activities.

If someone has a trading income above the HMRC trading income allowance, they do not automatically qualify as a business.

Businesses operating on a commercial basis will need a licence if they keep or train animals for exhibition for education or entertainment.

This can be:

  • to any audience in person
  • by recording visual images of the animals to play it to people using any technology

Examples of businesses include:

  • mobile animal exhibits that visit schools
  • weddings
  • private parties
  • fairs
  • any other events that have an audience

It also includes:

  • pony parties where the ponies are not ridden
  • exhibiting domestic animals in a circus
  • businesses which keep animals for exhibition through electronic media, for example, animals used in films or TV
  • businesses which train animals for exhibition, either to an audience or through electronic media

If a business is based outside England and brings in an animal for exhibition, they must apply to either the:

  • first authority where they will be performing
  • authority where the animals will be kept for the duration of their stay

The guide does not apply to agents who organise the exhibition of animals, but do not own or train them.

Agents must:

  • have limited or no contact with the animals
  • make sure all keepers and trainers are licensed and comply with the regulations

This guide also does not apply to:

  • people who organise shows where animals are exhibited, such as Crufts and animal trade shows
  • registered charities that exhibit animals as part of charitable work, unless it is doing it on a commercial basis
  • training or exhibiting animals for military or police purposes, such as training police dogs or showing them at fairs
  • training or exhibiting animals for sports, such as horse or greyhound racing
  • licensed zoos

There is separate guidance to get a zoo licence.

Part A – General conditions (Schedule 2 of the Regulations)

Paragraph numbers relate to the conditions in the schedules of the regulations.

1.0 Licence display

1.1 A copy of the licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any premises used for the licensable activity.

The licence number must be displayed at the premises where the animals are kept. It must be in a public-facing area of the premises such as the entrance.

A copy of the licence must be taken to exhibits when they are not at the premises.

1.2 The name of the licence holder followed by the number of the licence holder’s licence must be clearly and prominently displayed on any website used in respect of the licensable activity.

2.0 Records

2.1 The licence holder must ensure that at any time all the records that the licence holder is required to keep as a condition of the licence are available for inspection by an inspector in a visible and legible form or, where any such records are stored in electronic form, in a form from which they can readily be produced in a visible and legible form.

2.2 The licence holder must keep all such records for at least 3 years beginning with the date on which the record was created.

Electronic records must be backed up.

3.0 Use, number and type of animal

3.1 No animals or types of animal other than those animals and types of animal specified in the licence may be used in relation to the relevant licensable activity.

The licence must clearly state the maximum numbers of each species or species group that can be used for the activity. This does not include fish.

The licence holder can have less than the maximum number of animals without informing the local authority.
If the licence holder goes over the maximum number of animals for the licence they must inform the local authority.

3.2 The number of animals kept for the activity at any time must not exceed the maximum that is reasonable taking into account the facilities and staffing on any premises used for the licensable activity.

Any animals kept as pets are not included in the licence, they must not be exhibited.

If animals are in a shared housing enclosure, the licence holder must be able to show that:

  • there are enough resources for each animal
  • all animals can do similar activities at the same time, such as all birds perching or feeding
  • animals can separate off from a social group

4.0 Staffing

4.1 Sufficient numbers of people who are competent for the purpose must be available to provide a level of care that ensures that the welfare needs of all the animals are met.

No animal must be kept for exhibition or exhibited unless staff on duty are competent in their care and welfare.

Staff must either:

  • have a recognisable qualification
  • show they have relevant and sufficient knowledge and experience, for example, working on a film set or mobile animal exhibit

Licence holders keeping venomous species that are dangerous to human health must make sure that:

  • enough staff are trained in that specific species management
  • these staff are available at all times

Written instructions must be given to staff to explain the provision of healthcare. These must include procedures to follow if there is an incident with any venomous animal and a member staff or the public.

4.2 The licence holder or a designated manager and any staff employed to care for the animals must have competence to identify the normal behaviour of the species for which they are caring and to recognise signs of, and take appropriate measures to mitigate or prevent, pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour.

You should look at training records as evidence of suitable induction training of staff in:

  • animal welfare, including recognising poor welfare
  • animal handling
  • animal behaviour
  • cleanliness and hygiene
  • feeding and food preparation
  • disease prevention and control
  • recognition and first aid treatment of sick or injured animals

4.3 The licence holder must provide and ensure the implementation of a written training policy for all staff.

The staff training policy must be reviewed and updated each year.

It must include:

  • an annual appraisal
  • planned and continued professional development
  • recognition of knowledge gaps

This applies to all staff including the licence holder.

Training can be demonstrated by:

  • knowledge of research and developments for specific species
  • engagement with online courses
  • annual appraisal documents

Evidence of staff attendance or completion of the training must be provided.

5.0 Suitable environment

5.1 All areas, equipment and appliances that animals can access must present minimal risks of injury, illness and escape.

They must be constructed in materials that are:

  • robust
  • safe and durable
  • in a good state of repair
  • well-maintained

Timber must be good quality and well kept. Any damaged areas must be sealed or over-clad. Wood must be smooth, treated, properly maintained and waterproof.

Interior surfaces, including floors, must be smooth and waterproof. Surfaces must be able to be disinfected, where appropriate. Floors must have a non-slip, solid surface. Junctions between sections must be covered or sealed.

There must not be any sharp edges, projections, rough edges or other hazards which could injure an animal.

Unprotected electrical cables must not be in reach of any animal.

All materials must be non-toxic.

Doors must be strong enough to resist impact, scratching and chewing, and must be capable of being effectively secured. Gaps or apertures must be small enough to prevent an animal’s head passing through, or entrapment of any limb or body parts.

Door openings must be constructed in a way that the passage of water or waste is not prevented. Water or waste must not be allowed to gather because of inaccessibility.

All wire mesh and fencing must be kept in good repair to stop animals from digging or escaping.

If any metal bars, mesh, or frames are used, they must be of suitable gauge with enough spacing to stop animals escaping or getting trapped.

Care must be taken if aviaries or cages are constructed with newly galvanised mesh to prevent heavy metal poisoning. This is particularly important for parrots, they will often chew the metal.

Any drainage must be effective to make sure there is no standing or pooling of liquids. Waste water must not run off into neighbouring pens or units. Drainage channels must be provided.

If appropriate, animal pens and cages must open onto secure corridors or secure areas so animals cannot escape from the premises. These corridors or areas must not be used as an exercise area.

Housing must be inspected often for damage and potential injury or escape points. Any damaged housing must be repaired or replaced immediately.

5.2 Animals must be kept at all times in an environment suitable to their species and condition (including health status and age) with respect to:

(a) their behavioural needs

(b) its situation, space, air quality, cleanliness and temperature

(c) the water quality (where relevant)

(d) noise levels

(e) light levels

(f) ventilation

Animals must be given suitable housing and rest areas. These will depend on the species or species group.

All housing must be:

  • secure (predator proof, escape proof and lockable)
  • clean and free from parasites and vermin
  • free from hazards, such as sharp projections and edges
  • sheltered from extremes of weather
  • at a temperature suitable to the species of animal
  • ventilated or oxygenated for aquatic species

Ventilation must be provided to all interior areas, as appropriate to the species. It must have no harmful effect on temperature or humidity.

If there is no shade, direct sunlight and other unintended heat sources must be avoided.

Light must be provided in suitable light and dark cycles for the species. If natural light is insufficient, suitable artificial lighting must be used.

The licence holder must be able to show the inspector that there is appropriate lighting for the species. For example, if specific waveforms of light, such as ultraviolet B (UVB), are integral to the life support of a species, this must be shown to the inspector.

Animals must be able to move away from direct lighting.

In tiered housing, water, food or waste products must not contaminate lower levels.

In housing where isolation is not practical (such as aquaria or mixed-species aviaries) waste must be managed properly to prevent contamination of food and water.

Water quality must be checked weekly if it is:

  • an integral part of life support for a species
  • poor quality, so it becomes dangerous to the health of the animal

Records must be kept of all water tests.

Noise disturbance must be reduced. The licence holder must be able to show what steps will be taken if noise becomes a problem.

Animals must not be exposed to draughts, when appropriate.

All housing must have:

  • a comfortable resting area that all housed animals can use at the same time
  • enough clean bedding material that is suitable for the species and individual animals

All housing must allow an animal to:

  • lie stretched out fully
  • rest comfortably
  • stand in their natural posture
  • be comfortable in their environment
  • be kept in appropriate social groups
  • to move around freely – examples include climbing, swimming or jumping
  • have separate areas for sleeping, toileting and exercising
  • have the ability to move away from the social group, where appropriate
  • hide from human view or other animals in the enclosure, where appropriate
  • hide from potentially frightening stimuli (anything that triggers a physical or behavioural change)

The enclosure size must be suitable for the species. It must be adjusted according to its size as the animal grows. It must also be adjusted if a group of animals are kept together. Any changes to the group dynamics may need separation facilities or bigger enclosures.

Whilst being temporarily exhibited, enclosure sizes that are smaller than that considered best practice for long term husbandry can be used.

If animals are kept or displayed outdoors, they must always have suitable protection from adverse weather.

Fish must be able to swim freely and turn around in aquariums or ponds.

Birds must be able to stretch their wings freely.

5.3 Staff must ensure that the animals are kept clean and comfortable.

Each occupied unit must be cleaned often. Waste materials must be removed as needed.

For species that are in poor health, or should not be disturbed during breeding seasons, cleaning should be reduced. Hygienic living conditions must be maintained.

If appropriate, all animals must benefit from a suitable grooming and health routine as needed. This could include cleaning the eyes or keeping long fur from matting. It would cover regular attention to coat, teeth, ears and nails and checking for parasites.

Any cleaning products used must be non-toxic to the animals. There must be appropriate timed separation between disinfection and re-introduction of livestock.

Soiled bedding must be removed in a timely manner and replaced immediately.

Empty cages must be cleaned, disinfected and allowed to dry before new stock arrives. Surface materials must be replaced as needed. Enclosure fixtures and fittings must be adequately sanitised.

Working fish systems must not be treated with routine chemical sterilisation. Fish must not experience rapid fluctuation in chemical composition of their water, unless this is for:

  • the controlled treatment of disease
  • part of a controlled breeding programme

Acceptable conditions may vary substantially according to the species of fish. If staff are in doubt, they must get expert advice.

5.4 Where appropriate for the species, a toileting area and opportunities for toileting must be provided.

5.5 Procedures must be in place to make sure housing and any equipment within it is cleaned as often as necessary and good hygiene standards are maintained. The housing must be capable of being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

To keep a clean environment, a cleaning procedure must be in place.

It must detail the:

  • routine cleaning programme
  • procedure for cleaning between periods of occupation
  • management procedures for any human disease risks

If a pest problem is identified, a pest control programme must be put in place.

5.6 The animals must be transported and handled in a manner (including for example, in relation to housing, temperature, ventilation and frequency) that protects them from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

If the licence holder collects or delivers any animals, they must be transported according to the regulations laid down in current legislation.

The licence holder must demonstrate that a suitable vehicle is available to transport the animals. It does not have to be owned by the licence holder.

Predators and prey must not be kept within sight, sound or smell during transport.

Fully trained and hooded birds of prey can be safely transported on a cadge if they are under supervision. If not, birds of prey should be transported in specially constructed travelling boxes. These allow the birds to at least stand up and turn around.

Birds must have the opportunity to perch during transport, if appropriate.

All animals must be provided with an appropriate temperature for their species when in transit. Hot and cold weather procedures must be in place.

Animals must not be left in vehicles for unreasonable periods. They must never be left unattended in a car or other vehicle when the temperature may pose a risk to the animal. Consideration must be given to whether it is necessary to transport animals when the temperature poses a risk.

Animals must be deemed fit to travel. Animals must be transported to veterinary facilities in an appropriate manner for their condition.

5.7 All the animals must be easily accessible to staff and for inspection. There must be sufficient light for the staff to work effectively and observe the animals.

Enclosures must allow for a visual inspection with minimal disturbance to the animal.

Lights must be turned off overnight to provide a period of darkness, unless the species requirements state otherwise. Consideration must be given to the specific requirements of nocturnal species.

5.8 All resources must be provided in a way (for example, as regards frequency, location and access points) that minimises competitive behaviour or the dominance of individual animals.

Examples of resources include, but are not limited to:

  • food
  • water
  • resting and sleeping areas
  • enrichment items, such as toys

There must be enough resources for each animal in any shared enclosure. This will minimise dominance. If dominance is identified, extra resources must be provided.

Animals that are kept together must be monitored carefully, especially at feeding times.

Staff must be trained to recognise signs of group disruption, for example, competition or aggression. Group disruption can negatively affect animal welfare.

5.9 The animals must not be left unattended in any situation or for any period likely to cause them distress.

All animals must be visited as appropriate for the individual animal.

Staff must visit animals regularly, either:

  • every 4 to 6 hours during the day
  • as necessary for the health, safety and welfare of each animal (according to its species)

There must be a documented system to record observations of illness, injury or behavioural problems. This documented system must be maintained.

Any handling or interaction with animals by the public must be supervised at all times.

6.0 Suitable diet

6.1 The animals must be provided with a suitable diet in terms of quality, quantity and frequency. Any new feeds must be introduced gradually to allow the animals to adjust to them.

Animals must be fed an adequate and balanced diet to meet their individual nutritional needs.

Animals must be fed a complete diet appropriate to their:

  • age
  • activity level
  • breed
  • species
  • stage in the breeding cycle

Staff must have knowledge of the nutritional needs for each species they care for.

If there are concerns about an individual animal’s diet, staff must get appropriate nutritional and veterinary advice.
Food supplements, including vitamins and minerals, must be given if needed at the correct dosage for the individual species. The supplements must be in a form appropriate to the species, so that enough supplementation is given.

Fresh foods must be kept refrigerated where appropriate. Frozen foods must be stored in an appropriate deep freeze and defrosted thoroughly to room temperature before use.

Live food, such as crickets, must be housed in suitable escape proof containers. If the live food is uneaten in a short period, it must be removed if it poses a risk to the species that feeds on it. For example, crickets could bite reptiles.

Providing live vertebrate prey as food should only be done in exceptional circumstances. For example, when a snake is not eating any other food. This must be on an individual animal basis for specified animals only. A written justification must be completed.

This justification must:

  • be available to inspectors
  • be agreed by senior staff
  • include veterinary advice (weighing up the welfare of the predator and prey)

A competent member of staff must:

  • watch the live feeding
  • remove uneaten prey in a timely manner

This feeding must not take place in the presence of the public.

6.2 Feed and (where appropriate) water intake must be monitored, and any problems recorded and addressed.

Unusual eating or drinking habits must be recorded. They must be reported to an appropriate member of staff and acted upon. Staff must get veterinary advice if needed.

Significant weight loss or gain must be assessed by a competent person. If the underlying reason cannot be identified and remedial measures have been unsuccessful, the animal must be assessed by a vet. If it is housed as part of a social group, the facility must be able to isolate the animal to check if it’s eating or not.

For small mammals, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds, consult a vet if:

  • there is no improvement in food intake within 12 hours after remedial action by a competent person
  • the condition of the animal deteriorates

6.3 Feed and drinking water provided to the animals must be unspoilt and free from contamination.

6.4 Feed and drinking receptacles must be capable of being cleaned and disinfected, or disposable.

Receptacles must be kept to a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene. They must be disposed of if damaged.

6.5 Constant access to fresh, clean drinking water must be provided in a suitable receptacle for the species that requires it.

Water bottles must be free flowing and free from leakages and blockages.

Water must be kept away from sleeping areas to reduce the risk of dampness.

Fish must not be removed from water during exhibits.

Access to water for bathing or swimming must not be withheld for longer than is normal for the species.

Raptors (birds of prey) should be provided with fresh clean water in a bath daily. This should be withdrawn during freezing weather, if they are kept outdoors, to avoid health problems.

6.6 Where feed is prepared on the premises used for the licensable activity, there must be hygienic facilities for its preparation, including a working surface, hot and cold running water and storage.

Soap and hygienic hand drying facilities must be available. Hand sanitisers (alcoholic gel) is not considered a suitable alternative to soap and running water.

Food must be protected against:

  • dampness
  • deterioration
  • mould
  • contamination by insects, birds, vermin or other pests

The food preparation area must be kept clean and vermin-free.

Human and animal food preparation must not:

  • take place in shared preparation areas at the same time
  • use shared utensils

Receptacles for an animal’s food and drink should not be used for any other purposes.

7.0 Monitoring behaviour and training

7.1 Active and effective environmental enrichment must be provided to the animals in inside and any outside environments.

Animals must be able to express natural behaviours in their living environment. They may need environmental enrichment such as objects and substrates. For example, giving bedding material or designing housing to provide:

  • physical requirements, such as perches
  • environmental requirements, such as humidity levels

These should not have the potential to cause injury. They should be replaced if damaged.

As appropriate to the species, enrichment objects must be changed on a regular basis to introduce novelty and maintain interest. When adding new enrichment devices, staff must make sure the animal is closely monitored for signs of distress.

Accessories must be disinfected between animals or they must be disposable.

7.2 For species whose welfare depends partly on exercise, opportunities to exercise which benefit the animals’ physical and mental health must be provided, unless advice from a vet suggests otherwise.

All animals must have daily exercise, as appropriate for its:

  • species
  • age
  • ability
  • stage of training
  • physical capability

If housing birds, the aviary dimensions should provide sufficient space for flight. At the very least it should be wide enough for the bird to open its wings fully. Exact measurements can be found in guidance on the sale of pets. Birds must not be tethered (tied up) permanently.

If animals are in a temporary enclosure and cannot move fully, for example, when being exhibited, they must be given the chance to move fully at least once a day. A record must be kept of this. Not being able to move fully means they cannot use their full range of movements, such as running or flying.

7.3 The animals’ behaviour and any changes of behaviour must be monitored. Advice must be sought, as appropriate and without delay, from a vet or, in the case of fish, any person competent to give such advice if adverse or abnormal behaviour is detected.

The behaviour of individual animals must be monitored each day. Any changes in behaviours that show stress, fear, pain and anxiety must be recorded and acted upon.

Staff that are responsible for the care of animals must be able to identify animals that are anxious or fearful about contact or handling. Animals must only be exhibited if they are suitable for the type of exhibition involved (including any handling, noise, lighting, special effects, or being around other animals). They must have their
needs met and not likely to be nervous, stressed or fearful.

If an animal is showing signs of being nervous, stressed or fearful, steps must be taken immediately to stop this. Steps can include withdrawing an animal from exhibition.

7.4 Where used, training methods or equipment must not cause pain, suffering or injury.

Training must be based on the principles of positive reinforcement – rewarding desired behaviour and ignoring unwanted behaviour. Animals must not be physically forced to perform, or punished if they do not perform.

7.5 All immature animals must be given suitable and adequate opportunities to:

(a) learn how to interact with people, their own species and other animals where such interaction benefits their welfare

(b) become habituated to noises, objects and activities in their environment

There must be a plan in place for any animals to be familiarised early on with any stimulus or combination of stimuli they could experience.

This can include:

  • individual handling
  • audiences and crowds
  • loud noises
  • activities going on around the animals

8.0 Animal handling and interactions

8.1 All people responsible for the care of the animals must be competent in the appropriate handling of each animal to protect it from pain, suffering, injury or disease.

If a client is handling an animal it is the responsibility of a competent member of staff to make sure the interaction is appropriate. The interaction must be stopped if the animal shows signs of fear, suffering or fatigue.

Clients handling animals must be:

  • supervised at all times
  • offered facilities to wash their hands before and after handling

Animals that are showing signs of aggression should only be handled by competent staff.

8.2 The animals must be kept separately or in suitable compatible social groups appropriate to the species and individual animals. No animals from a social species may be isolated or separated from others of their species for any longer than is necessary.

Where appropriate, all animals must be housed in social groups of a suitable size.

Solitary species must not be kept in social groups. Ideally they should not be kept within sight of each other. If this is not possible, enough distance and visual barriers must be provided to prevent stress.

Animals working together must be familiarised before they attend any events. Staff must avoid using predator and prey species at the same time.

A policy must be in place for monitoring the introduction of new animals to existing groups. It will aim to avoid stress to new or resident animals, and explain steps to take if problems happen.

To help avoid unwanted litters, all animals must be sexed immediately when they arrive at the premises. They must be neutered, or if appropriate, housed in single sex groups.

8.3 The animals must have at least daily opportunities to interact with people where such interaction benefits their welfare.

Animals must never be forced to interact with people. They must be able to avoid people, by having a facility such as a hiding place.

9.0 Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

9.1 Written procedures must:

(a) be in place and implemented covering

(i) feeding regimes

(ii) cleaning regimes

(iii) transportation

(iv) the prevention of, and control of the spread of, disease

(v) monitoring and ensuring the health and welfare of all the animals

(vi) the death or escape of an animal (including the storage of carcasses)

(b) be in place covering the care of the animals following the suspension or revocation of the licence or during and following an emergency

Written procedures should be proportional to the size and complexity of the business. The written procedures must be available to the inspectors. All people responsible for the care of the animals must be fully aware of the procedures.

The procedures must show how the conditions in this guidance are met.

9.2 All people responsible for the care of the animals must be made fully aware of these procedures.

9.3 Appropriate isolation, in self-contained facilities, must be available for the care of sick, injured or potentially infectious animals.

Provision must be made for the isolation of sick, injured or infectious animals. This also applies to animals that might reasonably be expected to be carrying serious infectious diseases.

If the isolation facility is at another location, such as a local veterinary practice, the licence holder must be able to show evidence that it’s ready to use (for example, a letter from the practice).

Animals showing signs of infectious disease must:

  • not be allowed in any shared outside exercise area
  • be removed from any exhibit where they will interact with the public or other animals

All staff must understand the procedures to prevent the spread of infectious disease between animals.

Any animals in the isolation facility must be checked often and visited after the other animals – unless a separate person is caring for them.

Fish with signs of illness or disease can be kept with other animals if all the fish in the same tank (or connected system) are given appropriate treatment.

If infectious disease is present in the premises, barrier nursing procedures must be applied.

This includes:

  • use of protective clothing and footwear, if needed
  • changing protective clothing and footwear between enclosures
  • separate storage of equipment, including cleaning utensils
  • separating waste

9.4 All reasonable precautions must be taken to prevent and control the spread among animals and people of infectious diseases and parasites.

An up-to-date veterinary vaccination record must be shown to make sure animals have current vaccinations. Any vaccines given must be licensed for use in the UK. Homoeopathic vaccination is not acceptable.

If there is evidence of external parasites, such as fleas, ticks and lice, the animal must be treated with a product authorised for use by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

Staff and customers must wash their hands before and after handling animals. Any used equipment must be disinfected.

9.5 All excreta and soiled bedding for disposal must be stored and disposed of in a hygienic manner and in accordance with any relevant legislation.

All waste (urine and faeces) and soiled bedding must be kept in a hygienic manner. Waste and soiled bedding must be removed from the premises often, at least once a week. It should be disposed of to the satisfaction of the local authority, and in accordance with:

  • current regulations
  • good waste management practice

9.6 Sick or injured animals must receive prompt attention from a vet or, in the case of fish, an appropriately competent person and the advice of that vet or, in the case of fish, that competent person must be followed.

If a competent person suspects an animal is ill or injured, they must:

  • assess the animal
  • get veterinary advice immediately, if needed

Any instructions for treatment from a vet must be recorded and followed strictly. The person must get further veterinary advice if there is ongoing concern.

9.7 Where necessary, animals must receive preventative treatment by an appropriately competent person.

9.8 The licence holder must register with a vet with an appropriate level of experience in the health and welfare requirements of any animals specified in the licence and the contact details of that vet must be readily available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity.

The vet’s details must be displayed where they can be easily seen by all staff members.

This must the include:

  • name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • out of hours telephone number

The veterinary practice must be within a reasonable travel distance. Staff must know about the out of hours arrangements. If access to a specialist vet is limited because of availability, registration with a local vet who is willing to contact and take advice from a specialist can be used.

The licence holder should make sure that the veterinary practice assesses their own competence to act for each species. If knowledge is lacking in any area, the practice must help to make arrangements to access specialist knowledge. This could include a competent secondary veterinary practice for a specific species. The licence holder must provide information about these arrangements to prove veterinary competence for each species.

9.9 Prescribed medicines must be stored safely and securely to safeguard against unauthorised access, at the correct temperature, and used in accordance with the instructions of the vet.

9.10 Medicines other than prescribed medicines must be stored, used and disposed of in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or vet.

9.11 Cleaning products must be suitable, safe and effective against pathogens that pose a risk to the animals. They must be used, stored and disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and used in a way which prevents distress or suffering of the animals.

Cleaning and disinfection products must be used in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. Cleaning and disinfection products must be non‐toxic and compatible with any other products used.

Staff using cleaning products must be competent in the safe use of detergents and fluids.

Cleaning products must:

  • be kept out of the reach of animals
  • never be left in animal enclosures

9.12 No person may euthanise an animal except a vet or a person who has been authorised by a vet as competent for such purpose or:

(a) in the case of fish, a person who is competent for such purpose

(b) in the case of horses, a person who is competent, and who holds a licence or certificate, for such purpose

If euthanasia is not carried out by, or under the direct supervision of, a vet this must be recorded.

The records must be available for inspection and detail:

  • why the animal was euthanised
  • the method used
  • the member of staff who euthanised the animal

This does not apply to fish.

Animals must be euthanised in a humane and effective way. Staff must get advice from a vet if in any doubt about humane and effective methods.

When a licence holder is breeding or buying live vertebrate animals to be euthanised for the purpose of feeding to other animals, the method of euthanasia must be:

  • assessed by a vet
  • signed off to the vet’s satisfaction, confirming the method is humane and effective (and continues to be effective)

The method of euthanasia must be safe and humane for the culled animal and the animal being fed.

9.13 All animals must be checked at least once daily and more regularly as necessary to check for any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour. Vulnerable animals must be checked more frequently.

9.14 Any signs of pain, suffering, injury, disease or abnormal behaviour must be recorded and the advice and further advice (if necessary) of a vet (or in the case of fish, of an appropriately competent person) must be sought and followed.

Checks of the animals must not cause unnecessary stress or disturbance. Visual checks are acceptable.

A system of recording abnormalities must be kept.

10.0 Emergencies

10.1 A written emergency plan, acceptable to the local authority, must be in place, known and available to all staff on the premises used for the licensable activity, and followed where necessary to ensure appropriate steps are taken to protect all the people and animals on the premises in case of fire or in case of breakdowns for essential heating, ventilation and aeration or filtration systems or other emergencies.

Entrances and fire exits must be clear of obstructions at all times.

Suitable firefighting, prevention and detection equipment must be available. It must be maintained and in good working order. Staff must be trained properly to use the equipment.

There must be a plan for housing of the animals if the premises become uninhabitable.

Before any of the animals arrive on the site of an exhibit, a health and safety risk assessment and an emergency plan must be in place.

This should include:

  • the recovery and treatment of any escaped animals
  • evacuation procedures in case of a fire, flood, or any other emergency

All staff must have the contact numbers of a vet who will visit if needed.

An emergency plan must include a list of any species that are on the current Schedule of the Dangerous Wild Animal Act. It should detail the action plan for their safe removal and immediate rehoming in case of an emergency.

All electrical installations must be maintained so they are in a safe condition for the health and safety of staff and animals. There must be an effective contingency plan for essential heating, filtration systems, ventilation and aeration if electricity fails.

10.2 The plan must include details of the emergency measures to be taken for the extrication of the animals should the premises become uninhabitable and an emergency telephone list that includes the fire service and police.

10.3 External doors and gates must be lockable.

10.4 A designated key holder with access to all animal areas must at all times be within reasonable travel distance of the premises and available to attend in an emergency.

A reasonable distance is interpreted as no more than 30 minutes travelling time in normal conditions.

Part B – Specific conditions: keeping or training animals for exhibition (schedule 7 of the regulations)

1.0 Insurance

1.1 The licence holder must hold valid public liability insurance in respect of the licensable activity of keeping or training animals for exhibition.

A copy of the insurance policy document must be taken to all exhibits. It must be ready for inspection, if needed.

2.0 Emergencies

2.1 A written policy detailing contingency measures in the event of the breakdown of a vehicle used to transport the animals or any other emergency must be available to all staff.

All drivers must carry an accident book and have:

  • procedures for managing accidents that involve animals in transit
  • emergency contact details of a person with suitable training to deal with animal injuries

3.0 Suitable environment

3.1 Suitable temporary housing must be provided for all the animals at any venue where they are exhibited.

All animals involved in an exhibit for more than one day must be provided with on-site housing or rest areas, as set out under part A, section 5.2. These areas must allow a range of movement and natural behaviours.

There should be enough separate rooms or securely partitioned areas to avoid unfamiliar animals being together.

The animal’s normal housing should be used if possible.

Fish should be moved in the same water as they are permanently housed, if possible.

The design and layout of the premises must allow animals to see their surroundings and any animals in other enclosures. When staff are removing individual animals, the design and layout should minimise any disturbance to other animals.

If animals are displayed to the public, signs must be placed on enclosures to stop anyone from:

  • tapping on the glass
  • putting their fingers into cages

The distance between the resting facilities and the working environment should be as small as possible.

4.0 Monitoring behaviour and training

4.1 The animals must be trained by competent staff and given suitable and adequate opportunities to become habituated to being exhibited, using positive reinforcement.

If animal training takes place during exhibition it must be done in a way that minimises stress to the animal.

Staff should consider the need for the presence of a veterinary surgeon on set or in the location. This is to provide welfare assurances where a particular hazard has been identified in the risk assessment. Industry standards may also state that a veterinary surgeon is needed on set.

All props, costumes and equipment must be inspected before and after they are used. The animals must be examined for signs of discomfort, rubbing or injury.

Props, animal costumes, make-up and any special effects must not pose a risk to the animal. They must not cause any unnecessary pain, suffering, distress or discomfort. They must be used for the shortest time possible.

Carbon dioxide (used to produce dry ice) and artificial smoke should be avoided – it can be harmful to many species and cause them distress. Carbon dioxide and artificial smoke must never be used around birds, reptiles or amphibians.

Animals must not be exposed to glare, heat, noises or other conditions unless specifically habituated to these conditions before the exhibition. For animals trained in this way, exposures must be reduced to the shortest possible time. If possible, the effect should be achieved by other methods, such as camera angles and techniques. Staff must get veterinary advice and record it.

An animal must not be forced to do anything. It should not be expected to do anything:

  • outside its normal behaviour repertoire
  • that it has not been trained to do

The number of animal trainers and handlers must be consistent with the number of animals being used and the species.

The use of all effects, such as fires and explosives, must be decided in consultation with the vet, animal consultant and trainer before filming. Restraining equipment must not be used on animals that:

  • are not trained to wear them
  • struggle or resist

5.0 Housing with, or apart from, other animals

5.1 Social animals must not be exhibited if their removal from and reintroduction to the group with which they are usually housed causes them or any other animal within that group stress, anxiety or fear.

5.2 Animals must be prevented from coming into contact with each other during any exhibition where such contact would be likely to cause any of them to show signs of aggression, fear or distress.

Animals showing signs of aggression, fear or distress must not be used in an exhibit.

If signs of fear or distress show during an exhibition, either the:

  • exhibition must end
  • animals must be removed immediately and taken to a place of safety

Animals must not be used to provoke or annoy other animals to create an effect.

Predators and prey must not be kept within sight, sound or smell of each other.

5.3 All persons likely to come into contact with the animals during an exhibition must be briefed about how to behave around the animals so as to minimise anxiety, fear and stress in the animals.

Everyone on the production site (including audience, actors and crew) must be told about:

  • the types of animals that will be used
  • how to behave around the animals (including what to do if there are sudden loud noises such as applause)
  • any movements that might frighten the animals and make them panic or react aggressively

People exhibiting animals must tell the event manager to alert them to any other activities that may cause anxiety for the animals. This could include loud noises or showing other animals. Exhibitors must reduce any anxiety by moving the animals as far away as possible from the activities.

People coming into contact with exhibited animals must be told how to prevent the risks of diseases that can be passed between humans and animals. Handwashing facilities must be available for people coming into contact with animals.

No-one other than the staff responsible for the animals must be allowed to pet, handle or play with animals during the working day unless supervised and directly involved with the required action and consistent with the best interest of the animal.

5.4 No female animal with unweaned offspring may be removed from its home environment and newborn, unweaned or dependent offspring must not be removed from their mothers.

6.0 Records

6.1 The licence holder must keep a list of each animal kept, or trained, for exhibition with all the information necessary to identify that animal individually (including its common and scientific names) and must provide the local authority with a copy of the list and any change to it as soon as practicable after the change.

The licence holder must notify the local authority in writing if:

  • any new species of animals are brought in for exhibition, and they are not specified on the licence
  • the number of animal’s in a particular species exceeds the number on the licence

This should not need an extra inspection, unless the numbers are significant.

7.0 Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease

7.1 A register must be kept of each animal exhibited or to be exhibited which must include:

(a) the full name of the supplier of the animal

(b) its date of birth

(c) the date of its arrival

(d) its name (if any), age, sex, neuter status, description and microchip or ring number (if applicable)

(e) the name and contact details of the animal’s normal vet and details of any insurance relating to it

(f) details of the animal’s relevant medical and behavioural history including details of any treatment administered against parasites and any restrictions on exercise or diet

(g) a record of the date or dates of the animal’s most recent vaccination, worming and flea treatments

(h) the distance to and times taken for it to travel to and from each exhibition event

The register must state if the animal does not need vaccinations, worming or flea treatment. If any of this information is unknown, the reason must be documented.

7.2 A record of when the animals are exhibited must be kept and an animal rotation policy must be put in place to ensure that the animals have enough rest between and during exhibition events.

The log must include the:

  • date and time of the exhibit
  • duration of the exhibit (arrival to departure time)
  • type of exhibit
  • animals used in the exhibit
  • location of the exhibit
  • distance and travel time to the exhibit from the licensed premises

The time animals are used for exhibition events must be recorded. This must include the time spent working, resting and any other actions. It needs to record comments on behaviour, injury or any other problem.

Call sheets must be kept.

A record must be kept for each individual animal setting out:

  • how often they are used in an exhibit
  • how long they are used in an exhibit
  • what rest periods they have in the home environment

Animals must have clear breaks from exhibits that allow them to perform normal behaviour in their home environment. This includes sleeping, feeding and play, and must have sufficient breaks.

7.3 All the animals used in exhibition events must be in good physical and mental health.

All animals used in exhibition events must be allowed to acclimatise when they arrive. This must be before the exhibition starts.

During exhibition breaks, animals must either be:

  • moved to a suitable, secure designated place
  • exercised if suitable, unless it would damage their welfare more so than remaining in the exhibition area

7.4 The exhibited animals must be suitable for the specific conditions, type of enclosure and actions involved in the exhibition.

7.5 Any equipment, chemicals and other materials used in the exhibition must not cause the animals pain, discomfort, fatigue or stress.

Toxic substances must not be used at the same time as the animals in any production. If hazardous or toxic substances are involved beforehand, there must be washing facilities. Emergency treatments for animals should be close to the site and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) data sheets need to be completed. These should be circulated as needed.

The data sheets must be given to the attending vet if an accident happens (for example, the animal touches, breathes in or eats such a substance).

7.6 The animals must be transported in suitable, secure and appropriately labelled carriers.

Carriers must be suitable for the species. They must be large enough to allow the animal to move around, but small enough to reduce any injury during transit. If movement must be restricted to avoid injury, the reasons must be stated in the written transport procedure.

If an animal needs external life support, this must be provided during transportation. For example, appropriate temperatures for reptiles and the correct water temperature for fish.

Animal carriers must be appropriately secured when they are in transit. This is to make sure there is no movement or escape of the animal.

Animals must not be mixed with different species and unfamiliar animals in carriers.

If a number of animals are mixed in the same carrier, it must be of an appropriate size to stop overcrowding.

Transport carriers must be kept in a clean and hygienic condition.

Each animal carrier must have a label securely attached to identify the contents. The label must state that it contains live animals.

7.7 The licence holder or the licence holder’s staff must undertake a risk assessment before each exhibition event.

The welfare risk assessment must assess against each of the 5 welfare needs of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

It must state the:

  • mitigating measures taken to reduce risks
  • people responsible for this

The operator must familiarise themselves with the evacuation procedure for each venue in case of an emergency.

7.8 The animals must not be handled by persons whose behaviour appears at the time to be influenced by the consumption of alcohol or by any psychoactive substance.