Any person who proposes to allow animals to perform in the City of Newcastle and elsewhere and who resides in Newcastle upon Tyne must obtain a Licence from Newcastle City Council, issued under The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925.

How to apply

Apply online

Performing animals licence

Other ways to apply

Download the Performing Licence Application Form (pdf 271 kb) and post to: Trading Standards Service, Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.

The Licence will be issued subject to compliance with the Licence conditions and payment of the Licence fee.

There is an application fee payable upon application however, should we require the expertise of an animal specialist this may incur further costs at your expense before a Licence is issued.

Application requirements

Applicants must not have been previously convicted under any of the following Acts:

  • The Protection of Animals Act 1911;
  • The Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912,
  • The Protection of Animals (Cruelty to Dogs) (Scotland) Act 1934;
  • The Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1954;
  • Or any offence under any of Sections 4,5,6(1) and (2), 7 to 9 and 11 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

When determining the application for a Licence, the council will take into consideration whether:

  • animals will have access to suitable accommodation at all times, with regard to the size, temperature, lighting, ventilation, and cleanliness;
  • animals will be suitably fed, watered and visited at suitable intervals;
  • all reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent the spread among animals of infectious diseases;
  • appropriate steps will be taken to protect the animals in the event of a fire or other emergency;
  • anyone in contact with the animals should be made aware of any risks associated with such contact;
  • all the necessary risk assessments should have been conducted on the proposed performances to be engaged in by the animals.

A Licensing Officer from the Council will visit the premises as proposed to be used to ensure that they comply with the above. In certain circumstances a veterinary inspection may also be undertaken.

If we have not contacted you to make arrangements to complete an inspection within 14 days of your application, please contact us to check that your application was correctly made and received.

The Council will endeavour to issue a Licence within a period of 28 days, however if we have been unable to determine your application in this time a licence will not be automatically granted due to animal welfare implications.

Offences and penalties

The following offences apply to any person:

  • not being registered exhibits or trains any performing animals; or
  • 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 Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925

The Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 requires any person who exhibits or trains any performing (vertebrate) animal to be registered with a local authority. This provision, applies to circuses and also to other situations, such as filmmaking and plays, which involve animal performances. A person who exhibits or trains a performing animal must be registered, for example at cabarets, during film making etc.

The established Policy of the City of Newcastle is that performing animals will not be permitted to perform on any premises or property owned or operated by the City Council.

The term 'exhibit' is defined as 'exhibit at any entertainment to which the public are admitted, whether on payment of money or otherwise' and to 'train' means 'for the purpose of any such exhibition'.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) have produced guidelines for the welfare of performing animals. We encourage anyone considering using animals in productions to read this and implement the suggestions.

Eligibility criteria

Performing animals don't include invertebrate animals (animals with exterior skeletons like insects or no skeletons like jellyfish, etc).


Registration doesn't apply to the training of animals for bona fide military, police, agricultural or sporting purposes, or the exhibition of any animals so trained.

Animals in travelling circuses

Travelling circus animal operators must apply for a licence through DEFRA. Apply for a travelling circus licence on the website.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

From the 6 April 2007 the Animal Welfare Act 2006 came into effect. It makes owners and keepers responsible for the welfare needs of their animals are met. These responsibilities include the following criteria:

  • Suitable environment (place to live);
  • Suitable diet;
  • To exhibit normal behaviour patterns;
  • To be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable);
  • To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

Government Review

To see a publication highlighting the current review being undertaken by Government into animal licensing go to Report (pdf 223 kb)

Powers of entry

The City of Newcastle may authorise competent persons to enter premises specified in an application for a Licence, at all reasonable times, producing if required their authority, and the authorised officers may inspect these premises and an animal or animals in them.

Will Tacit Consent Apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted.  If you have not heard from the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it using the contact details below.


Trading Standards Service, Public Safety, Regulation and Development, City of Newcastle upon Tyne, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.

Phone (0191) 2116121

Please note: The information on this page has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help individuals and businesses in Newcastle, wishing to be licensed under the provisions of the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the Act for a full statement of legal requirements and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.

Page last updated: 
25 May 2018
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