To apply for a licence for an animal activity, first select the appropriate application form from the bottom of the page for the activity you intend to carry out.

Considering the Application

Before the application can be determined, the local authority must do all of the following:

  • Consider whether the conduct displayed by the applicant indicates that they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity and can meet the licence conditions.
  • Inspect the site of the licensable activity and assess whether it's likely to meet the licence conditions. If the inspection is for a dog breeder or horse riding establishment, the inspection will be carried out by a suitably qualified licensing officer and a veterinary surgeon. In the case of the other licensable activities, in most cases the inspection will be only carried out by a suitably qualified licensing officer.
  • The report of the inspection will form a considerable part of the assessment of the suitability of the applicant. It will contain information about the operator, any relevant premises, any relevant records, the condition of any animals and any other relevant matter. The inspector will state whether or not they believe the licence conditions can be met.
  • Ensure that the appropriate fees have been paid. These fees include:
    • fees for the consideration of the application
    • the anticipated costs of enforcement action in relation to any licensable activity or unlicensed operator
    • the provision of information to the Secretary of State
    • any veterinarian fees that are due as a result of the vet's inspection

The local authority, using all the information in front of them, will consider whether:

  • the applicant can meet their licence conditions
  • granting a licence might negatively affect the welfare, health or safety of the animals involved in this activity
  • the accommodation, staffing and management are adequate for the activity or establishment to run properly

If the answer to any of these questions is in the negative, the application will be refused.

Duration of Licence

The licence will be issued for a period of one, two or three years, with the exception of licences for performing animals, which will always be issued for three years. The length of time that the licence is issued for will be determined by the risk assessment made by the inspecting officer in their report. The assessment will take into account:

  • the risk of an operator breaching any licence conditions
  • the impact on animal welfare of any such breaches
  • whether the operator is already meeting higher standards of animal welfare than are required by the licence conditions

Star Rating

Businesses will be given a star rating based on the results of their inspection. The criteria for the star rating are set by DEFRA in its procedural guidance to licensing authorities document. The ratings range from 1 star to 5 stars and are a function of the risk assessment the inspecting officer produces as part of their report.


The application fee must be paid at the time of application for it to be valid. The vet's fees will be payable after the inspection has taken place.

The fees table shows the cost of each activity.

Application Forms

The above should be downloaded with the associated DEFRA guidance notes. Applicants must read the guidance and ensure that they comply with all of the conditions. The bullet point guidance identifies either what is required or how the applicant can met each specific condition. - Guidance for Animal Activity Licences (select relevant category)

Further guidance:

Contact: The Licensing team

Last updated on 15/02/2022