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Contact your local council to apply for registration if you want to exhibit, use or train performing animals in England, Scotland or Wales.

If you keep or train animals for public performance – for example, in a circus, television or film production, or a theatre performance – you’ll need to register with your local council.

What you’ll need to provide

You’ll need to give details of the animals and the performances they’ll be taking part in when you apply. You may also need to pay a fee.

If the council approves your application, they will give you a certificate confirming that you have the right to keep the animals and use them in performance.


A police officer or other authorised officer may:

  • enter any premises where performing animals are kept
  • inspect the premises to check that the animals are kept in suitable conditions that meet health, welfare and safety standards
  • ask you to produce your certificate of registration


You don’t need to register if you train or exhibit animals for use by the military or police, or for agriculture or sport.

Fines and penalties

If a complaint of cruelty is proven against you, you can:

  • be banned from exhibiting or training performing animals
  • have conditions imposed on your registration
  • lose your registration

You can be fined up to £2,500 if you exhibit or train any performing animal without being registered. You may also be banned from exhibiting or training performing animals.