Background and Eligibility Criteria
The welfare of performing animals is provided for in the general provisions to avoid suffering and ensure welfare in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. In addition the training and exhibition of performing animals is further regulated by the Performing Animals (Regulation) Act 1925 which requires trainers and exhibitors of such animals to be registered with the local authority.
Under this Act, the police and officers of local authorities, who may include a vet, have power to enter premises where animals are being trained and exhibited, and if cruelty and neglect is detected, magistrates' courts can prohibit or restrict the training or exhibition of the animals and suspend or cancel the registration granted under the Act.
Every person who wishes to use animals to perform must first register to obtain a certificate of registration, and no person should engage in the performance of animals without having carried out a risk assessment by a competent person. Sound advice may be obtained from the following:
- trained animal handlers
- university departments
It is the duty of the applicant to ensure that employees are given prior warning if they are to work with animals in case of phobias or allergies.
Information should be made available to every person concerned regarding controls such as feeding, avoiding disturbance, what to do in an emergency and the health risks particularly to expectant mother caused by animal infections.
It is important that the length of time animals spend performing should be kept to a minimum, and that any equipment used for example hay or straw, should be treated and fireproofed. First aid should always be on hand.