Animal licensing


By law, from 6 April 2026 all primates in England will need to be kept to zoo-level standards of animal welfare. In effect, this will ban the practice of keeping primates as pets.

"Primate" means an animal of any species, other than human beings, that belongs to the Primate order of mammals. This includes – but is not limited to – any species of monkey, ape, lemur, loris or tarsier.

The Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2024 became law on 5 March 2024. It brings in a licensing scheme that will allow only private keepers who meet strict welfare and licensing standards to keep primates. Private primate keepers will be subject to regular inspections, making sure these standards are upheld.

From 6 April 2026 it will be an offence for anyone to keep a primate without a relevant licence. Failure to comply with licence conditions could result in an unlimited fine, removal of the primate or imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months.

Licensing details

To read the full legislation, go to The Animal Welfare (Primate Licences) (England) Regulations 2024.

Existing primate keepers will have until 6 April 2026 to comply with the welfare and licensing standards.

From 6 April 2026 all private primate keepers will be required to:

  • hold a licence, valid for up to 3 years
  • undergo reassessment to renew their licence

Guidance on the compliance standards and the full licence application process will be published here when available.