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Cremation warning for horse owners

The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC) has issued a warning to horse owners after a man was found guilty of duping 26 into paying for individual cremations for their horses and then disposing of the animals in other ways.

Philip ‘John’ Cooper, 70, of Somerton, Somerset, who previously traded as John Cooper Livestock Services, was given an eight-month suspended sentence and fines totalling £53,000 for fraud at Gloucester Crown Court.

The APPCC wants owners to know that the equine and pet cremation industry is completely unregulated at present. DEFRA licensing regulations cover only the disposal of dead animals and not how cremations are carried out.

Director Kevin Spurgeon said: "I would urge horse owners to ensure that they check out any cremation service being offered, as many equine cremation firms are actually slaughter men, knacker men or rendering services that may not even have their own cremator.

"The vets involved also need to ask themselves whether they failed to protect their clients by not knowing exactly where Cooper was taking the horses they referred to him. Vets should ensure they have full written working practices from their contractors and carry out regular site inspections."

Members of the APPCC adhere to a code of conduct and believe that, until all UK equine crematoria and the veterinary profession agree to sell cremation services according to standard descriptions, bereaved owners will continue to be misled.

"Quite simply, people are currently paying high prices for cremation services that often do not meet their expectations,” added Kevin.

The APPCC advises asking how the horse will be transported; whether the equine cremation service has its own cremator and if not, where the horse will be taken; where the horse will be stored and how it will be identified; whether it will be the only animal in the cremation chamber and whether the ashes – and only their horse’s ashes – will be returned.

The APPCC has put together a best practice guide for equine cremation services, available by calling (01252) 844478.


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