History of Pet Cremation

A brief history of pet cremation in the UK

Pet Cremation has been around for many years but has not been offered or widely available until the past decade, when many new local pet crematoriums have sprung up alongside more established large “one stop” pet crematoriums that service veterinary practices around the UK.

Most pets have to be euthanased at a veterinary practice due to old age or illness. Until the 1980s vets used to offer a simple disposal service to customers. This normally entailed vets taking deceased pets to the local refuse facility to be landfilled (this is still a legal form of disposal today!). About 30 years ago the first veterinary disposal services for pets appeared in the UK. These companies offered vets a regular collection service to remove their clinical waste and provide hygienic disposal of deceased pets by mass incineration (also described as “communal cremation”).

Gradually these companies began to offer “ashes back” services via veterinary practices. The method and individuality of the pet’s cremation varied considerably (and sadly still does). As the popularity of individual pet cremation services grew these companies rebranded themselves as “pet crematoriums”, removing information about their waste disposal activities from their public literature whilst marketing themselves to vets as a “one stop solution” for veterinary practices.

Over the past 30 years pet crematoriums of all shapes and sizes have sprung up around the UK. Some have based themselves on the “one stop solution” used by the larger companies whilst a growing number have specialised in only providing individual pet cremation services. This means that a great deal of companies use the same terminology to describe very different ways of collecting, handling and cremating your much loved pet.

In the last few years we have seen another worrying trend.  Pet crematoriums have been bought up by large corporate veterinary practices.  Often, neither the veterinary practices or pet crematoria are rebranded; leaving owners none the wiser as to who is looking after their pets.  This raises the question of both consumer protection & ethics when a veterinary practice is recommending the services of their own pet crematorium but not making clear they are owned by the same company!  For example, one company, CVS UK Ltd., owns over 400 veterinary practices and 7 pet crematoria (at the time of writing).

You can check which vets they own here: https://www.cvsukltd.co.uk/practice-locator/

or which pet crematoriums they own here: https://www.cvsukltd.co.uk/our-businesses/crematoria/

More than ever before it is essential that people check out exactly what service is being offered and by whom BEFORE THE DAY if possible.

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