Animal Licensing

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1. New animal welfare regulations

The Government has recently published the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. These regulations replace a number of existing licensing regimes 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 currently in place under the following legislation:

  • Pet Animals Act 1951
  • Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963
  • Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970
  • Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and 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.

If you are operating a business which would require a licence as a consequence of the new regulations, please take the time to examine both the general and activity specific conditions that will apply. The current guidance documents attempt to answer some of the obvious questions regarding the conditions. Please note that these guidance notes were updated by Defra on Friday 30 November 2018.