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Zoo licence

How to apply for a zoo licence, and information on conditions

How to apply

If animals are kept for display to the public for more than 7 days in a year, a zoo licence is needed (under the Zoo Licensing Act 1982).

 Before you apply you must:

  • notify us in writing that you are going to be applying for a zoo licence (two months before applying)
  • put a public notice in a local paper, and on the premises
  • have received planning permission for the zoo (for further information please see our planning pages)

Once the two months has expired, you can officially apply. Please complete our application form and send in with the appropriate fee (please see our animal welfare licensing fee document). Please also send us a stock list of the animals to be kept (this is required on an annual basis).

Apply for a zoo licence 

What happens next?

We will:

  • consult with the police, fire service and a specialist authority for the operation of zoos
  • visit you, with an animal specialist, to check the premises is suitable to keep the animals concerned

If there are no issues we will issue a licence for four years. After the four years, you'll need to renew this. If successful your next licence will be for six years (with an inspection after three years).

Grounds for refusal

If we refuse your application, it's likely to be on the following grounds:

  • the veterinary report raised issues with animal welfare, or the health and safety of the people living nearby
  • strong objections from those living nearby
  • you or any zoo keepers have been convicted of an offence related to ill-treatment of animals
  • planning permission has been refused for the premises

Conditions

We may attach certain conditions to your licence, and we will tell you about these. The Secretary of State issues model conditions for all zoo licences. Please take a look at their conditions document at the bottom of this page.

Further information

For further information please contact us, our contact details are below.