About the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria
Who are we?
In April 1993 The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria was founded in order to promote companion animal facilities, to set and maintain a code of conduct to ensure quality of service and to have a voice with regard to legislation being introduced. The members operate independent businesses but are all committed to the same high standards of professional conduct and client care. You are assured of an honest and reliable service that will operate to strict standards and handle your pet with care and respect at all times. With British and European legislation constantly changing the Association will fight to preserve sensible regulations that allow their members to maintain this personal and caring service. With the veterinary world consolidating into large commercial organisations there is a tendency for practices to move to large scale animal incineration plants that take away the local, personal service that serves you so well. The APPCC will continue to represent and promote the smaller, respectful, personal pet crematoria and cemeteries. In this way you will be protected and businesses will be able to compete on a level playing field with a strong representative voice over new legislation.
As far as we are aware the APPCC is the only organisation in Europe setting standards for pet cemeteries and pet crematoriums that protect you, pet owner, and ensure your pet is handled they way you expect. Our membership is made up of genuine pet cemeteries and crematoria as well as pet undertakers and quality product suppliers.
How do the standards protect pet owners?
We know from letters we receive that people expect a certain service when they hear the term pet cremation. They immediately think of the human equivalent. Therefore we set our methods of working to reflect this. When the term cremation is used it has to cover the whole process – dignified handling, the actual operation of cremation and where the ashes go afterwards. You should be able to either have your pet’s ashes back or be able to say ‘this is my pet’s last resting place. So, for individual cremation your pet will be cremated on its own in the chamber and the ashes carefully collected before the next cremation starts. For a communal cremation all the ashes will be collected at the end and buried or scattered in a recognised memorial area that an owner may visit. It is simple, straightforward and easy to understand.
But doesn’t this happen already?
No. Unless a crematorium is one of our members all kinds of systems may be used to cut costs and increase profits. Over the years various methods of cremating pets together and inferring they are individual have been used. Most of the communal or mass cremations carried out are simple waste disposal operations where the remains go off to a waste site after a large scale incineration. Even if cremations are carried out on their own very often the handling will be more akin to waste transportation with bodies heaped into the back of a van or into wheelie bins. The Association Code cuts through all this to ensure a service described as a cremation or burial is carried out with care and respect from start to finish. Other services are described as they are – normally disposal services. That way you have control over the service you want for your pet.
Why aren’t pet crematoria more closely controlled?
Pet crematoria are controlled under the Animal By-Product Regulations and, in some areas, Waste Management Licensing. This has caused us many difficulties in the past but with the help of the Environment Agency and Defra we have carved out our own niche within the regulations that allows us to operate as genuine pet bereavement facilities. However, the regulations are designed for waste. This allows any disposal operation to gloss up their services and call themselves by any number of tempting and appealing names. Licensing for Pet Crematoria and Cemeteries is only concerned with the operation as a disposal site. There are no regulations controlling how the cremations should be carried out to ensure the correct ashes are collected, for the dignified handling of the animals or to distinguish between ashes going to a normal disposal site or to a specific memorial area. The standards set by the Association are the only ones that provide this distinction.
But most people arrange the cremation through their vet. Isn’t that a guarantee?
Unfortunately vets are experts in their own field of looking after your pets but have no experience of after death services. They can be misled into thinking all pet crematoria are the same as easily as anyone else. Whether you arrange your cremation through your vet or with the crematorium or cemetery direct always be sure that the system is described in full including storage, how your pet will be transported, the method of cremation and when your ashes will be returned or where your pet’s last resting place will be. There are no gruesome details in a properly run cremation service.
But are our members’ services just too expensive for most people?
No. Our members offer a range of prices. We are not an Association of high end businesses. We look for a basic standard of presentation but our main concern is what happens behind the scenes, ensuring procedures are correctly carried out and the trust of the clients is not abused. Unfortunately in the general pet bereavement sector the prices that you pay often bear little relation to the service that you get.
But if the people are kind and the ashes well presented isn’t that an assurance?
Being kind, sympathetic and reassuring may be part of the cremation service but it does not mean things are correctly handled behind the scenes. Testimonials are no use either. At the moment the only test is membership of our Association. Our members give an assurance they follow our Code of Practice. We now have an independent inspection system available to our members to have all their information as well as their procedures gone over with a fine tooth comb to ensure they fully meet the Association Code as well as being compliant with the Consumer Protection Regulations. This shows commitment to a very high level, honest service to you
Can all animals be cremated?
All our members can cremate domestic pets from the smallest mouse or bird to the largest dog. We have a number of members who specialise in cremating horses. Sheep, goats and pigs that are kept as pets may also be cremated and their ashes returned to you.