The welfare of performing animals is provided for in the general provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to avoid suffering and ensure animal welfare. 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 county or 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.
Every person who wishes to use animals to perform within the East Cambridgeshire district must first register with Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards 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
- 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.
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.
Offences and penalties relating to this licence
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.
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.
It is in the public interest that Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards must process your application before it can be authorised. If you have not received a response to your application within a reasonable period, please contact them. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service or use the contact details below.
Cambridgeshire County Council, Trading Standards, PO Box 450, Great Cambourne, Cambridge, CB23 6ZR
If you are an applicant or a third party, you should always contact Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards in the first instance if you have any queries, concerns or cause for complaint preferably in the form of a letter with proof of delivery. If you are not satisfied with the outcome and are located in the UK, Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service will give you advice. If you are from outside the UK, please contact the UK European Consumer Centre.
- The International Marine Animal Trainers' Association
- The Association of Circus Proprietors of Great Britain