Thursday 19th September 2019
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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.

Relevant legislation: Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 as amended by the Animal Welfare Act 2006

The welfare of performing animals is provided for in the general provisions to avoid suffering and ensure welfare in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. In addition the training and exhibition of performing animals is further regulated by the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 which requires trainers and exhibitors of such animals to be registered with the local authority.

Under this Act, the police and officers of local authorities, who may include a vet, have power to enter premises where animals are being trained and exhibited, and if cruelty and neglect is detected, magistrates' courts can prohibit or restrict the training or exhibition of the animals and suspend or cancel the registration granted under the Act.

Do I need a Licence?
Every person who wishes to use animals to perform within the borough of Luton must first register to obtain a licence, and no person should engage in the performance of animals without having carried out a risk assessment by a competent person.

Sound advice may be obtained from the following:

  • trained animal handlers
  • veterinarians
  • zoos
  • university departments

It is the duty of the applicant to ensure that employees are given prior warning if they are to work with animals in case of phobias or allergies.

Information should be made available to every person concerned regarding controls such as feeding, avoiding disturbance, what to do in an emergency and the health risks particularly to expectant mother caused by animal infections.

It is important that the length of time animals spend performing should be kept to a minimum, and that any equipment used for example hay or straw, should be treated and fireproofed. First aid should always be on hand.

Advice for the public
Check the Council’s register, available to download below, to see a list of current animal welfare licences.  Please contact the Council if you believe an animal is being kept for the purpose of performing without a licence.

What are the Conditions of the Licence?
A copy of the licence conditions can be obtained on request. However in summary, before a licence is granted, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:

  • the performing animals are obtained from a reputable source to minimise the risk of disease;
  • the appropriate measures will be taken to protect the animals in case of fire or other emergency including the provision of suitable fire fighting equipment;
  • that the register contains the types of animal to be used in performances, both to be trained and exhibited;
  • that health and safety checks are carried out for both the animals and staff.

How do I apply and how much does it cost?
Every person who wishes to use animals to perform must first apply for a licence from Luton Borough Council by contacting us using the details at the bottom of this page. There is a fee which must accompany the application.

What information or evidence will I need to provide?
Any information required to progress your application will be requested by the relevant application form itself including heating arrangements, details of the animal, details of how the animal will perform and for what duration. However, dependent on the findings of the inspection by officers of the Council or other authorised person such as a veterinary surgeon, further information or clarification may be requested prior to granting a licence or registration.

Are there inspections or assessments?
Prior to granting a licence, an officer from the Health and Safety team will arrange for an inspection to establish if the requisite standards are being met.

How long will it take you to process my application?
Due to inspections by officers of the Council and possibly by others such as veterinary surgeon, we say that applications can take up to 28 days to process, i.e. from receipt of the application to grant of licence or registration.

To see what tacit authorisation is and find out if it applies to your application click on the download below.

Offences and penalties relating to this license
The following offences apply to any person who:

  • not being registered exhibits or trains any performing animals;
  • being registered trains or exhibits any animal that is not registered or in a manner that has not been registered;
  • obstructs or delays a local authority officer or a police officer in the execution of his duties under the Act as regards entry and inspection;
  • conceals any animal with a view to avoiding such inspection or;
  • fails to produce a registration certificate when required to do so
  • applies to be registered under this Act when prohibited from being registered

The maximum penalty for any offence under the Act is a fine of £1,000.

Further information
Copies of the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 and other legislation mentioned in this information sheet can be purchased from Her Majesty's stationery office. Alternatively, a copy of the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 can be inspected at our offices on request or viewed by visiting The Office of Public Sector Information.

If I’m turned down, how do I appeal?
Any person aggrieved by Luton Borough Council’s refusal to grant such a licence, or by any condition subject to which such a licence is proposed to be granted, the applicant will be notified of the proper procedure if they wish to appeal.

Notify us of any changes
If you wish to simply inform us of changes in circumstance such as address, business name, opening hours etc. Please contact us using the details below.




 Contact information

Licensing service
Luton Borough Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ
Tel: 01582 546040
Contact us