Licence summary

Schedule 1 of the Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 defines Selling of Animals in the following way:

Selling animals as pets (or with a view to their being later resold as pets) in the course of a business including keeping animals in the course of a business with a view to their being so sold or resold.

In scope

This would include:

  • Individuals or companies involved in the importing, distributing and selling of animals
  • Businesses registered with Companies House
  • Businesses or individuals operating from domestic premises for commercial purposes (who may not be listed with Companies House)
  • Premises open to members of the public or to other businesses where animals are available for purchase.

Out of scope

This would include:

  • Individuals involved in the infrequent sale of small numbers of surplus offspring/excess stock by a 'private individual' who breeds animals as a hobby
  • Aquaculture Production Businesses that are inspected by the Fish Health Inspectorate


Sufficient numbers of people who are competent for the purpose must be available to provide a level of care that ensures that the welfare needs of all the animals are met.

Under the new legislation there is no longer a requirement for a person to have a suitable qualification. Competence can be demonstrated by holding an appropriate qualification, but can also be demonstrated through suitable experience or training.

New applications

Before any Animal Activity Licence is issued, we must:

  • Consider the current and previous conduct of the applicant to determine whether they are a fit and proper person to carry out the licensable activity
  • Inspect the proposed site to assess if it is likely to meet the licence conditions (in some cases this may require a veterinarian to be present as well as the Local Authority Inspector)
  • Consider the contents and recommendations of the inspectors report
  • Ensure that the correct application form and fee have been received

The Animal Activity Licence, can be variable in duration, lasting between 1 and 3 years. Each licence issued will be determined by the outcome of the risk assessment undertaken during the inspection. Further information on this process can be found in the Procedural guidance notes.

Renewing a licence

We will advise each licence holder that their licence needs to be renewed 3 months before the current licence expires. The licence holder must apply for a renewal licence at least 10 weeks before their current licence expires, if they wish to continue to operate the licensable activity without a break. An inspection of the premises must be completed before a licence can be renewed.

The application form is available below in an editable word format or in a PDF format. Applications can be made via email or post to the Licensing contact details below.


Please note: As the duration of the licence is variable, the licence fee is payable upon the granting of the licence.

Licensing fees and payments

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.

Contact and enquiries

For any matters relating to this type of licence including applications please complete the Licensing enquiry form.

In partnership with EUGO