The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 came into force in 1984. The Act requires the inspection and licensing of all zoos in Great Britain.
The Act aims to ensure that, where animals are kept in enclosures, they are provided with a suitable environment to provide an opportunity to express most normal behaviour.
Responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the licensing system and the administration of the Act rests with local authorities.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has responsibility for maintaining a list of zoo inspectors and for setting detailed standards for zoo management with which zoos are expected to comply.
Definition of a zoo
'an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition ... to which members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, on more than seven days in any period of twelve consecutive months'
Licensed zoos range from traditional urban zoos and safari parks to small specialist collections such as butterfly houses and aquaria.
The Act does not extend to circuses, or to pet shops, both of which are covered by other legislation.
Useful Links and Information
For more information please contact the Licensing Team on:
Licensing Team, Capswood, Oxford Road, Denham, Bucks, UB9 4LH
01895 837373 or 837325 / 837222