Pet Funeral Arrangers (PFAs) are officially approved by the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC) to arrange caring and respectful funeral services for companion animals by burial or cremation. Pet funeral services will only be carried out at facilities which have met the strict criteria of the APPCC and hold up-to-date membership.
PFAs will conduct their business in an open, honest and ethical manner at all times. All burial or cremation services sold directly or referred by PFAs must be carried out in a dignified, caring and respectful manner. This applies from the moment a pet is collected or delivered and covers handling/transportation in addition to cremation/burial and scattering of ashes within formal or green memorial areas. PFAs are responsible for ensuring any third parties involved in the burial or cremation process adhere to the standards and conditions stipulated by the APPCC.
PFAs will comply with Consumer Protection Regulations, embracing both the spirit and letter of the law. Comprehensive descriptions of services must always be made available. PFA marketing literature will draw attention to any services which fall outside the strict APPCC Code of Practice.
Veterinary surgeries will only be granted APPCC approval as PFAs if they undertake to explain all available options and procedures to people whose pets have died or been euthanized whilst in their care. Pet owners must be given all relevant information to help them identify the service most suited to their individual requirements. They must be allowed due time and consideration to make an informed choice and should never be pressurised into making decisions in the emotional aftermath of losing a pet. Differences between options must be spelt out, and any services which cannot guarantee respectful or dignified handling must be highlighted. Note: Failure to differentiate between basic disposal services and caring/respectful cremation or burial procedures could leave veterinary practices in breach of Consumer Protection Regulations. This might also result in legal action and unwelcome media attention.
Invoices must be fully itemised with cremation or burial fees quoted at the cost price given to the PFA. Arrangement fees and charges for all other PFA services (including handling, collection, storage and delivery of ashes) must also be outlined. Clients should be made aware of any commissions or referral fees paid to the PFA.
PFAs will agree to, and comply with, the following terms and definitions for the services they offer. The intention is to avoid confusion caused by non-APPCC organisations using terms such as ‘communal cremation’ for services the Association classifies as ‘disposal.’ Note: the APPCC use of the term ‘cremation’ also encompasses careful and respectful handling of pets at all times. In contrast to a ‘disposal’ service, pet owners are assured that bodies will not be placed on top of each other without there being a solid divider in place during collection, storage or cremation. However, PFAs are permitted to make other arrangements to those listed below when carrying out individual requests specified by pet owners.
Individual burial: Pets will be buried in a caring, respectful and dignified manner in a designated plot at a pet cemetery. Plots must be marked in some form and clients must be made aware of their pet’s final resting place and be granted access to it.
Individual cremation:Pets are cremated alone within an enclosed chamber with all ashes being scrupulously collected prior to any other cremations taking place.
Communal cremation: Two or more pets are cremated together with no separation of ashes. All the ashes are buried or scattered in authorised memorial gardens, or natural areas. Clients must be made aware of – and be able to visit – their pet’s final resting place.
Note: the APPCC definition for communal cremation should not be confused with outside parties’ use of the term which may result in animals being handled in an undignified manner and ashes being taken to landfill sites. Even if the ashes are buried in the grounds of a pet cemetery, the service should still be described as a disposal, if there is no guarantee of respectful and dignified handling of pets.
Communal cremation with disposal of ashes: This service applies to situations where there are no authorised memorial areas for pet ashes to be taken, leaving disposal as the only option. Pets will still be handled with great care and dignity during collection, storage and cremation, but ashes will be disposed of at a licensed waste site.
Note: again, this should not be confused with outside parties’ use of the term for communal cremation where there is no guarantee that pets will be handled carefully.