PRESS RELEASE - 12 Aug 2018

PRESS RELEASE – IMMEDIATE: Poultry Club of Great Britain assesses impact of the forthcoming amendments to The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulation 2018


The Poultry Club of Great Britain (PCGB) recognises the concern from its members and the potential confusion surrounding the forthcoming changes to the regulations, which are due to come into effect on the 1st October 2018.  PCGB representatives Andrew Wetters, Philippe Wilson and Lee Grant met with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) recently to assess the impact of the changes on the poultry-keeping fancy and have worked jointly with the authorities to create a series of questions and answers to clarify the situation for Poultry Club members.     

Speaking afterwards, Lee Grant said:

“Our discussions helped to demystify the concerns from members that poultry-keepers and exhibiting poultry would automatically be caught under the revised regulations, resulting in increased administration and cost to our hobby.  On the contrary, the revisions clearly differentiate between those breeding and exhibiting pet animals for their preservation, and those who seek commercial gain from such practices.  Moreover, the regulations will provide assurances to those generating a profit from the sale of animals, and those using performing animals to generate an income”.     

Questions & Answers

  1. What are the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018?

The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 will replace the existing laws on the commercial selling and exhibiting of pet animals. Other activities also covered are: dog breeding; riding establishments and animal boarding.

The 2018 Regulations, which come into force on 1 October, mean that anyone who is in the business of selling animals as pets or exhibiting them will need to meet statutory minimum welfare standards. This is no different to the existing rules. 

In all cases except dog breeding the licensable activity is restricted to businesses or those operating on a commercial basis.

  1. Does a breeder / seller of poultry for non-commercial use (backyard poultry/pet owner) fall within the scope of the Regulation and therefore require a licence under the regulations?

The new regulations, as with the existing legislation, only apply to “businesses”.

The breeder / seller would only need a licence to sell such animals if they are considered as being in the business of selling animals as pets. Selling a few birds now and then would not constitute as being “in the business”.

Guidance for local authorities will include advice on what is a business. The government announced in Budget 2016 a new allowance of £1,000 for trading income from April 2017. Anyone falling under this threshold would not need to be considered in the context of determining whether they are a business.

  1. I breed and show pure, traditional and rare breeds of poultry – Do I need a licence to exhibit my poultry at specialist poultry show?

No.  For the purposes of the new regulations exhibiting means for “educational” or “entertainment” purposes, showing poultry or other birds at a poultry show is not considered to be exhibiting.

The show organiser and all attendees will however need to comply with the requirements of the General Licence for bird gatherings.  Bird gatherings can take place across England (and the rest of GB), subject to identity and health checks and biosecurity measures. Our guidance explains how to follow the general licence conditions for a bird gathering. If you want to hold a market, fair, show, exhibition or other gathering of birds, you must notify your local APHA office at least 7 days in advance of the event”

  1. Who will enforce the new regulations?

Local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the 2018 Regulations. They will be issued with specific guidance on the “business test”.

  1. Does rehoming of ex-colony caged hens count as selling? 

As is the case now, people who only occasionally sell animals – such as hobbyists, with no intention of making a profit, will not need a licence.

  1. Will poultry and bird keepers need to obtain a licence if they are in the business of keeping or training animals for exhibition?

Anyone in the business of exhibiting an animal will need a licence from their local authority. For the purposes of the new regulations exhibiting means for “educational” or “entertainment” purposes. The requirement for a licence is based on the need to apply good animal welfare standards and preventing injury, unnecessary suffering and the spread of disease.

Hobbyists not intending to make a profit from exhibiting animals will not need a licence. In this case, the requirements in the regulations do not apply. However, all owners whether licensed or not, still need to ensure their animals’ welfare needs are met.

Guidance is being prepared for local authorities to help them identify those people who are “in the business”.

  1. Is there a fee for the licence’?

Yes, as is the case now the local authority will charge a fee for issuing a licence. Specific guidance will be provided for local authorities on the charging of fees.

  1. Is there an additional fee for the exhibition of animals‘? 

Anyone who sells and exhibits animals as part of a business will need to be licensed to do both. However, the local authority will issue a single licence for both activities.

Commercial farmers: to give context to the regulations:

  1. Do I need a licence if I sell one chicken as a pet animal, if I am a farmer?

No. You only need a licence if you are considered as being in the business of selling animals as pets.

  1. Do I need a licence if I show a chicken at a local fair, if I am a farmer?

No. You only need a licence if you are in the business of exhibiting animals.

  1. Do I need a licence if I breed one litter of puppies each year and sell them, if I am a farmer?

No, you only need a licence if you are in the business of breeding and selling dogs or produce and sell three or more litters in a twelve month period.

  1. Do I need a licence if I teach my daughter how to ride a horse, if I am a farmer?

No. You only need a licence if you are in the business of providing riding lessons.

  1. Do I need a licence if I look after my neighbour’s cat when they are away, if I am a farmer?

No. You only need a licence if you are I the business of providing boarding for other people’s cats and/or dogs.

  1. Further Out of Scope Activities

The infrequent sale of a small number of surplus offspring/excess stock by a private individual who breeds animals for pleasure, exhibition for prize, or for education, study or scientific advancement. For low value species that may produce large numbers of excess stock, consideration should be given to the value of the stock and the likelihood that the seller is making a profit. 

Organised events where people meet to sell surplus animals they have bred, or animals that are surplus to their requirements, whether or not this is open to the public.

NB.  Selling animals as a business from a market or stall is prohibited under Section 2 of the Pet Animals Act 1951.

  1. Will the new Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 have an impact in Scotland?

Animal welfare is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the new regulations will have no effect in Scotland.  Those regulations are limited in geographical scope to England.  All those responsible for animals in Scotland are required to provide for the welfare of any animals in their charge under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.  Other specific legislation related to the sale and boarding of animals that the English regulation replaces, is being considered for amendment in Scotland.  The Scottish Government is committed, by the Programme for Government 2017/18, to making improvements to the operation of animal sanctuaries and rehoming agencies; to licensing for dog, cat and rabbit breeding, dealing and selling, and to developing new licensing requirements to protecting the welfare of wild and domesticated animals used for public performance or display.

  1. Further information for Devolved Administrations

The new regulations only apply to England only.  Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue with the existing legislation in those respective jurisdictions.  The exemptions in the existing pet selling legislation will be removed. However, the point at which someone needs a licence is still on the basis of whether the person is “in the business”. It is for local authorities to decide whether someone is in the business of selling animals as pets based on the individual circumstances of each case. If someone is selling animals as livestock, and can demonstrate this, then this will no doubt help the local authority make a decision.

Further information is available at:




Kate Dickinson, General Secretary

Poultry Club of Great Britain


T: 01830 520856