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If you plan to start a business involving buying livestock for slaughter, sale, or exchange, or if you plan to rent or lease livestock, you need an animal dealer license. Other types of agricultural businesses that may also require an animal business license include:

  • raising animals for food (like milk)
  • exhibiting animals
  • using animals for testing purposes
  • breeding or wholesaling pets
  • dealing in exotic or wild animals

The type of animal dealer license you will need will depend on whether you are dealing or exhibiting the animals. The purpose of requiring animal dealer licenses, set forth by the Animal Welfare Act, which was signed in 1966, is to protect the animals involved in your business and make sure their well being is taken care of.

While, naturally, there are laws outlining how often you must feed the animals in your care and what type of accommodations you provide them, there are also very specific agriculture regulations, such as licensing sales of dead animals. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the Animal Welfare Act in addition to getting your animal business license so that you ensure you’re following the rules regarding business licenses, permits & taxes for your business.

Do I Need More Than One Type of License?

Keep in mind, the type of business you run might require more than just an animal business license. For example, if you plan to operate a business removing wild pests like raccoons, you might also need to apply for a nuisance wildlife control permit or a hunting & firearm permit. Always check with your local licensing board to make sure you’ve covered yourself in terms of which business licenses you need.

The Animal Dealer License Inspection

Accompanying your license application, you will be subject to an inspection by local authorities. This will ensure that the enclosures and transportation methods you have for your animals meet state and federal requirements, and that your facilities are clean and up to code.

If there are areas that need improvement, you may be given a set period of time to fix the issues, at which point, the inspector will return to reassess your facility. Assuming everything is up to code in the inspection, your animal business license application will be processed.

Typically, you need to renew this license annually, and pay the renewal fee.

Not sure what type of animal business license you should apply for? This document, put out by the USDA, provides guidelines for different types of businesses dealing with animals to help.

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