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Rigorous inspections for pet crematoria

The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria is introducing a system of independent inspections to boost public confidence in the pet funeral industry.

The APPCC says the move has been prompted by press reports about owners’ distress when pets have been treated as waste instead of being given a dignified send-off.

It also comes at a time when funeral directors are increasingly realising that, as most pets are seen as part of the family, they could also be offering pet-related services.

Businesses wishing to take up the new category of APCC membership will face vigorous workplace assessments by The Consultant Connection (TCC), a company specialising in consumer code compliance. Inspectors will examine every aspect of an operation, from the way services are described in marketing literature to how costs and options are explained to pet owners.

Assessors will also focus heavily on the care and respect afforded to pets, from when it is first handled to when it is buried or when its ashes are returned.

Inspectors will need to ascertain that bereaved pet owners are treated as vulnerable consumers and are given sufficient time to make rational decisions about the service that best suits their budget and sensitivities.

Three pet crematoria were inspected in a pilot study. All three passed, but APPCC vice chairman Steve Mayles said he was taken aback by the attention to detail involved:

“After nearly 30 years in the business, I still found it unnerving to have somebody go through everything we do and offer with a such a fine tooth comb,” he said.

“But it is essential that the inspections are meaningful if we are to win the confidence of the public.

“The company carrying out the tests has nothing to do with the pet funeral industry and it has drafted a new consumer code for participating members.

"This code is fully geared towards protecting the public. It has been created from the pet owner’s point of view and and has been formed by people with great expertise in consumer rights. Nothing like this has ever been seen before in the pet funeral sector.

“We will be encouraging all our members to participate and at a later stage we might even make it a mandatory requirement of membership.”

Photo: Shutterstock

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