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Luton Borough Council

Performing Animals Licence

The welfare of all domestic and captive animals in this country is provided for in various statutes and Luton Borough Council is responsible for the administration and issuing of a number of licenses relating to animals.

Keeping or training animals for exhibition

If you wish to use animals to perform within the borough of Luton you must first obtain a licence. No person should engage in the performance of animals without having carried out a risk assessment by a competent person. The definition of keeping or training animals for exhibition is stated within Schedule 1 of the regulations and is: Keeping or training animals for exhibition in the course of a business for educational or entertainment purposes— (a) to any audience attending in person, or (b) by the recording of visual images of them by any form of technology that enables the display of such images.

Examples of keeping or training animals for exhibition that fit this criteria are:

  • Businesses which keep animals for exhibition, either for entertainment or educational purposes. This includes mobile animal exhibits that visit schools, weddings, private parties, fairs and other events where an audience is present.
  • Pony parties where the ponies are not ridden.
  • Businesses which keep animals for exhibition via electronic media, for example, animals used in films or TV.
  • Businesses which train animals for exhibition, either to an audience or via electronic media.
  • Exhibiting domestic animals in a circus.
  • Any business based outside of England that brings in an animal for exhibition. These businesses must apply to the first authority in which they will be performing or where the animals are to be kept for the duration of their stay.

Examples of keeping or training animals for exhibition that do not fit this criteria are:

  • Agents who organise for the exhibition of animals, but do not own them or train them themselves and thus have limited or no contact with the animals. Agents who arrange for the supply of animals for an exhibit should ensure all keepers and trainers are licensed and comply with the regulations.
  • Animal shows where animals are exhibited (e.g. Crufts, animal trade shows). If individual participants are in the business of exhibiting animals and receive a fee for doing so, they will need to have a licence, but the show itself does not require a licence as it is not responsible for the animals exhibited.
  • Training or exhibiting animals for military or police purposes (i.e. training police dogs, demonstrations of police/military dogs at fairs).
  • Registered charities that exhibit animals as part of their charitable work, unless such registered charities are in practice running this element of their operations as a commercial activity.
  • Training or exhibiting animals for sporting purposes, for example, horse racing and greyhound racing.
  • Exhibiting wild animals within a licensed circus.
  • Licensed zoos.

These lists are not exhaustive and applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.

If you are keeping or training animals for exhibition and fit these criteria you require a licence. You can view the guidance and apply for a licence below.


Contact info
Licensing Service
Luton Borough Council Town Hall George Street Luton LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 546040

[email protected]


© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ