The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018

The new Animals activities licensing regime for ENGLAND comes into force on 1 October. You can read the full Regulation here.

From that date any businesses in England commercially trading live animals will need a licence issued under the new regulations.

The only exception will be Aquaculture Production Businesses (APBs) that are inspected and licensed by CEFAS (FHI).  APBs that are not inspected by CEFAS (FHI) will need a licence.

Existing licences issued under the Pet Animals Act 1951 remain valid to its expiration date. Local authorities should advise each licence holder in writing 3 months before their licence expires that they will need to renew it. The new regime will take effect from this point.

We recommend you make yourself familiar with the new Regulations and the guidance documents below prior to 1 October. Although not officially published, final version of the guidance documents relevant to our sector are below. Other guidance documents relate to dogs, cats and horses. If you wish to see these documents you can find them here.

We urge all OATA members that will be captured by the new regime for the first time to apply to their local authority now, asking for an application form and to submit the form as soon as possible. A draft letter for this purpose is available in the Library section of the Members’ Area.

Guidance notes

Procedural guidance notes for local authorities 

This sets out useful information for inspecting authorities which you may find useful during the inspection process. In particular it outlines the new star rating system which will be applied by local authorities and which will determine the term of your licence (1, 2 or 3 years). We have serious concerns about the star rating system which we have not been consulted on as we believe it will be very difficult for any business, especially smaller ones, to achieve the 5 star rating.

Find the procedural guidance notes for local authorities here.

Guidance notes for conditions for selling animals as pets

This is the most important document which sets out in detail the minimum conditions you will need to meet to receive your licence. The parts that are relevant to our sector are:

  • Part A – General Conditions (Schedule 2 of the Regulations)
  • Part B – Specific Conditions: Selling animals as pets (Schedule 3 of the Regulations)
  • Part K – Reptiles and Amphibians
  • Part L – Fish
  • Guidance for inspectors on businesses consolidating imports of fish
  • Higher Standards

Read the Guidance notes for conditions for selling animals as pets here.

Guidance notes for conditions for keeping or training animals for exhibition

If you keep animals for exhibition, either for entertainment or educational purposes, and charge a fee for this purpose you will also need to meet the conditions in this guidance.

Read the Guidance notes for conditions for keeping or training animals for exhibition here.

Monitoring implementation and identifying problems

We believe this new regime will create many problems for businesses, especially smaller retailers and newly captured businesses, due to its complexity and the significant new burdens it introduces. Despite having raised our concerns with Defra on many occasions a number of our fundamental concerns remain.

Defra will review the new system so we will be carefully monitoring its implementation and gathering evidence to support future changes. We would appreciate your help in this.

Please let us know your experiences of the new licensing regime here.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the Regulations or the guidance please let us know by putting your comments here.

We will gather these together and put them to Defra for a response, after which we will put add a Q&A page to our Members’ area.

Share your experience

We suspect there will be wide variation in the application of the new regime and we would like to hear your experience of the inspection process. The sort of things we would like you to do and note during inspections are:

  • Ask for sight of the inspector’s qualification,
  • Advise us if any inspector questions the templates and advice we have providing under our Primary Authority partnership. Remind them that they have been approved under PA so are deemed fully compliant with regulatory requirements (providing you have not opted out of the scheme).
  • Note and advise us of any experience where you believe the inspector is acting beyond the terms of guidance and note any stipulations you do not believe are in the guidance. Ask them for their justification.
  • How long did the inspection take and, if you have been inspected previously, how does this compare?
  • How much did the inspection cost and, if you have been inspected previously, how does this compare?
  • What star rating were you given and what was the inspector’s justification for it?

Please feel free to inform us of any other issues about the inspection that caused you concern. You can submit information to us here.

Further advice

We are working with our Primary Authority partner, the City of London Corporation, to prepare templates and advice that will help you to comply with the new licensing regime. These will be published as soon as possible ion our Members’ Area. Watch this space.