Something that was reiterated several times during the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPCC) pre-conference certification courses last week was that in order for an IAOPCC member to sell a cremation that they call “private,” then that cremation must mean that only one pet is in the crematorium at the time it’s run, regardless of the size or type of crematorium used.

This matches the way “private” is defined in the IAPOCC Consolidated Standards:

“1.3.3 Private Cremation – Only one pet is placed in the cremation chamber and cremated, with the cremated remains returned to the client. Private cremation may include viewing of the cremation by the client.”

However, for years, local vets have been re-selling wholesale pet cremation services that they call “private” when in fact the service they are re-selling is “semi-private” or “individual.”

What’s the difference?

“Semi-private” or “individual” cremation means that more than one pet is in the crematorium when it is run, and the pets are divided in a manner that allows the crematorium operator to collect each individual’s cremated remains. Pets are placed in the crematorium so that they are not touching — they are divided by space and some type of divider. For example, each pet may be in its own steel pan, or pets may be divided by bricks, brick walls, or other dividers that can withstand high heat. However, because there is a shared space above the pets, there is the possibility that remains could be mixed. Bones pop under high heat. Particles could fly up and into another pet’s space. Little-to-no mixing may occur, but the possibility exists, and therefore this type of cremation should not be called “private.”

So why is your vet misleading you?

• They may not realize the distinction between “semi-private” or “individual” and “private” cremation.
• They’ve never visited the wholesale provider’s facility, and they don’t realize how many pets the wholesale provider cremates each day.
• They don’t fully understand the cremation process or how long it takes to privately cremate a single animal (1 to 4 hours in a small efficient crematorium like the one Life Cycle Pet Cremation utilizes).
• The wholesale service provider honestly believed as recently as 2014 that they were providing “private” cremations due to a misreading of the IAOPCC Membership Application, and so the vets believed it, too.
• Your vet has re-sold wholesale cremation services for 30 years, and they don’t think that you, the pet parent, care about the distinction between “semi-private” or “individual” and “prviate” cremation. However, I know for a fact that many of you do care, and the distinction of whether or not your pet is actually receiving a “private” cremation is incredibly important to you.

If you want a “private” cremation for your pet, then you must use a service like Life Cycle Pet Cremation. Don’t leave it up to your vet to re-sell you a wholesale service that in fact may be anything but “private.”

For a related article, please see “Questions to Ask your Veterinary Service Provider (VSP) About Your Pet’s Cremation.”