The sale of veterinary practices to corporates is the biggest threat to small, family-run pet crematoria, according to Nick Ricketts, chairman and a founder member of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC).
Ricketts explains, when vets are selling their businesses when they retire to groups which own multiple surgeries across the country, which tend to use industrial crematoria sometimes miles away from the surgery, instead of using local services.
In order to try and counteract this, the APPCC is encouraging animal owners to come directly to them when their pet dies, which he claims has “important advantages”.
The advantages include a ‘farewell room’ where last ‘goodbyes’ can be said, and that the bereaved could attend same-day cremations so that they can return home with their loved ones’ remains within a couple of hours.
Ricketts said: “The big operators out there have been quick to do deals with these companies. So, you have a situation where the smaller crematorium, which may have serviced a practice quite satisfactorily for years, is told they are no longer needed.
“The sad aspect is quite often that pet owners are unaware or are not made aware of the change and still think their pet is going to the local facility instead of being trucked miles away.”