Members of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria, or APPCC, met for their AGM on Sunday 13th October. Staff from pet crematoriums all over the UK came together to discuss changes in the industry, trends in the funeral world and their own activities. Representing Dignity at the Woodside hotel in Kenilworth, were owner Kevin, who is also APPCC director, alongside managing director Paula and marketing executive Eloise.
Pet Bereavement Workshop – Manchester University, Friday 7 June 2019
APPCC vice-president Steve Mayles gave a talk at Manchester University’s Pet Bereavement Workshop in June of this year. He discussed the services and standards offered by APPCC members, and how this differs from those provided by the larger companies that many vets are now contracting their pet cremations to.
There were many other speakers at the workshop, including Eric Tourigny from Newcastle University who spoke about his research into pet cemeteries over the ages from an archaeologist, showing some interesting skeletons unearthed to demonstrate dignified burials. Diane James, head of the Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service, was also present, discussing the support service they offer to the public and their staff regarding loss of a pet.
Sian Healy, a volunteer for Guide Dogs for the Blind, gave a moving talk about how life-changing getting a guide dog can be. She also detailed how guide dog owners can lose a dog due to illness or a change in their behaviour very quickly, causing many of them to revert back to using a cane with no support or counselling given.
The APPCC celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2018 and it was announced at the celebratory meeting that all members would be subject to compulsory, independent inspections in what has been described as “the biggest ever development in the pet funeral world”. All inspections have now been carried out, giving the public peace of mind that when they deal with a member of the APPCC they are receiving a service that meets their strict code of practice.
It was suggested that members could provide step-by-step guides, or even videos, to their local vets to help them understand how the process works. There were also discussions regarding the range of terminology used by both members and non-members, and whether this could be confusing to the public.
In The Press
There have been several interesting articles featured in Dogs Today magazine regarding pet cremation.
Invisible Chains by Beverley Cuddy
Published in Dogs Today’s June edition, this article details the uncertainty editor Beverley felt when her beloved dog had to be put to sleep at an out of hours veterinary service who immediately offered a cremation with their preferred local pet crematorium. Thanks to Kevin at Dignity and some digging, Beverley found that as many as 80% of veterinary surgeries in the UK are now owned by large corporations – who also happen to own the pet crematoriums.
Beverley writes “So, what can you do if the best vet in town is now part of a chain and you want to avoid their expensive and often inferior service? Plan ahead. You can opt out. Write a letter of wishes before the final day.”
Cumbrian pet crematorium warns beloved pets could be ‘trucked’ miles from home after they die by Phil Shanahan
This article also details the changes in the pet crematorium industry following the rapid expansion of some of the larger corporations.
Phil writes “Pets are being transported huge distances after they die to be cremated – often without the knowledge of their owners, a Cumbrian pet crematorium and cemetery operator has warned.
Nick Ricketts, who runs Paws To Rest in Armathwaite, near Carlisle, claims the situation has come about because of the takeover of veterinary practices by corporates.”
Red the full article here.
New Veterinary Client Mediation Service introduced. The VCMS is “a voluntary, independent and free mediation service for clients whose animals have received veterinary care and for the veterinary professionals providing that care. Using the process of mediation, VCMS offer help and guidance to resolve complaints in a fair, cost efficient manner that is unbiased and non-judgemental.”
Orthometals are a metal recycling company based in the Netherlands who specialise in recycling metals remaining after cremation. Not only is their service great for the environment, but they also work closely with their customers to donate to their chosen charities.
There were several visiting speakers who attended the meeting to talk about their products and services.
Dignipets are “an independent veterinary practice consisting of a team of mobile veterinary surgeons and nurses in the Midlands. We specialise in compassionate visits for pain assessments, hospice and palliative care and dignified home euthanasia.” Founder Merel spoke about the importance of providing this service to pets in their own home, as well as working closely with local members of the APPCC.
Memorials For Your Pet
Memorials For Your Pet showcased their range of headstones, plaques and stones that can be customised with names, dates and even pictures to create personal pet memorials.
My Pets Ashes
Karen of My Pets Ashes works with both human and pet ashes to create unique and personalised memorials – whether that’s advising on where to scatter the ashes, provide memorial products or educating through her regular pet bereavement blog.
Talks from the various speakers were extremely informative, however the highlight was getting together with other APPCC members to discuss what is an interesting and unique industry.