Performing animals licence

The registration of performing animals falls under the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925. It is an offence for anyone to train or exhibit a performing animal unless they are registered to do so. The Act is designed to cover the use of animals, at circuses, in stage performances or as part of exhibitions etc.

Anybody wishing to use animals to perform within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets must register with the council's Licensing Office. Any premises exhibiting animals within the Tower Hamlets area must also register. Anyone performing in the Tower Hamlets area, but living outside, should also register with their own authority.


Every person who wishes to use animals to perform must first register and get a licence.

1. The registration for the performance of animals is controlled under the Performing Animals Regulation Act 1925.

2. No person should engage in the performance of animals without having carried out a risk assessment by a competent person.

3. Sound advice should be obtained from the following:

  •  trained animal handlers
  •  veterinarians
  •  zoos
  •  university departments

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

5. 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.

6. Every person who wishes to use animals to perform must first register with the local council and will have to pay a fee for this service.

7. Any person that is not required to manage the animals should be kept well clear of the performing area and the animals.

8. It is important that the length of time animals spend performing should be kept to a minimum.

9. Any equipment used e.g. hay or straw, should be treated and fireproofed.

10. First aid should always be on hand.

Our duties

11. Before a licence is granted, the applicant must be able to demonstrate to the Environmental Health Officer 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.

Offences and penalties

12. 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 be 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


To apply for a licence, please contact the Health and Safety team. Alternatively you can apply online through the Businesslink website.

Contact us

Environmental Health Commercial Team – Health and Safety

Mulberry Place (AH)
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 1BY

Opening hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 5008
Fax: 020 7364 6901