APPCC Independent Approval LogoThe Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria

Consumer Protection Code of Practice


The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria is the only organisation in Europe setting standards that define correct procedures for pet cremation and burial. These have been put in place to protect pet owners from the widespread, unscrupulous practices that exist in the sector.

The Code has been developed from the original Code of Practice to provide a system for the independent inspection of pet crematoriums and pet cemeteries. As well as the essential details of respectful handling and technical procedures it incorporates the requirements under the Consumer Protection Regulations to ensure you are properly informed of the services provided and have the time and space to make an informed decision about how you want your pet to be handled.

Whilst this is a requirement under Trading Standards Regulations it is rare for it to happen in the pet cremation sector. The norm is for people to hide what really goes on under glossy pictures, flowery language and a misguided approach that believes consumers should be protected from knowing what happens. That is the code of the con-man and has no place here.

If everything is carried out according to the Code there are no gruesome details to hide and you can only feel reassured by knowing your pet is handled respectfully and everything carried out to the highest technical standards. Isn’t that what you expect?

1. Key commitments

1.1 We will provide cremation services for pets, and/or burial services for pets and/or their ashes, that, at all stages, are respectful, dignified and caring.

1.2 We will embrace open, honest and ethical business practices.

1.3 We will abide by this Code of Practice.

2. General requirements for cremation and burial services

2.1 We will comply with the law relating to pet crematoria and/or cemeteries and hold all relevant approvals, licences, or regulatory exemptions. In particular, we will:

(a) Hold the necessary planning permissions to enable us to operate the business.

(b) Be authorised by the relevant authority if we transport and/or cremate bodies.

(c) Hold a waste carrier’s licence if we transport ashes.

(d) Hold the relevant licence or regulatory exemption if we scatter or inter ashes.

(e) Be registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, if necessary.

(f) Have a Health & Safety Policy and assess and document relevant risks.

2.2 We will collect and store pets for individual burial, individual cremation, or communal cremation, with respect, dignity and care. In particular, we will not place bodies on top of each other, in a vehicle or store, without having a solid divider in place between them.

2.3 We will not cremate or bury at our premises anything other than the bodies of pets.

2.4 We will provide cremation and/or burial services at our own premises, or refer pet owners to fellow members.

2.5 We may provide services other than those specified in this Code on request from individual pet owners.

3. Specific requirements if we offer burial services

3.1 If we offer burial services, we will offer individual burials for pets.

3.2 We will bury pets with respect, dignity and care in a designated and marked plot at a pet cemetery.

3.3 We will make pet owners aware of their pet’s final resting place and grant access to it.

4. Specific requirements if we offer individual cremation services

4.1 If we offer cremation services, we will offer an individual pet cremation service.

4.2 We will cremate individual pets alone with respect, dignity and care within an enclosed chamber and collect all ashes scrupulously before any other cremations take place.

4.3 We will return the ashes to pet owners; or, if we have a pet cemetery, scatter the ashes in a designated area or bury them in a designated and marked plot.

4.4 We will make pet owners aware of their pet’s final resting place and grant access to it.

5. Specific requirements if we offer communal cremation services

5.1 We will cremate two or more pets together side by side with respect, dignity and care. We will remove all the mixed ashes scrupulously before any subsequent individual cremation takes place.

5.2 We will not return the ashes from communal cremations to pet owners but, if we have a pet cemetery, will scatter or bury the ashes in a designated area.

5.3 We will make pet owners aware of their pet’s final resting place and grant access to it.

5.4 By exception, if we do not have access to a pet cemetery, we will dispose of ashes at a licensed waste management facility.

6. Consumer protection

6.1 We will allow pet owners to visit and inspect our premises by appointment at convenient times.

6.2 We will enable pet owners to make arrangements with us directly or via third parties.

6.3 We will comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law relating to consumer protection, whether taking instructions directly from pet owners, or indirectly via third parties. In particular, we will:

(a) Provide clear, comprehensive, accurate and consistent descriptions of our services in our marketing materials.

(b) Provide full and clear information on our charges and itemise them on our invoices.

(c) Ensure that any formal terms and conditions relating to our services are clear and fair.

(d) Maintain a written procedure for handling written complaints, make this readily available, and keep a log to record how we deal with such complaints.

(e) Make our trading status clear on our marketing materials and business documents.

(f) Make it clear when any services we provide to third parties fall outside the scope of this Code.

Treat all customers, in light of their recent loss, as vulnerable consumers, taking care

to help them understand their options and the costs, and giving them plenty of time to make a decision.

6.4 We will train our staff to perform their roles effectively and to deliver their responsibilities to pet owners under this Code.

7. Definitions

7.1 In this Code, the following definitions apply:

(a) ‘Marketing materials’: Documents or other materials in hard copy or electronic form, including brochures, websites, price lists, advertisements, and flyers.

(b) ‘Pet cemetery’: Any area designated for the burial of pets or the scattering or interment of their ashes. This may be a ‘Pet cemetery’ or ‘Memorial garden’, or simply a garden or natural area on the member’s premises.

(c) ‘Third parties’: These include: other APPCC members; ‘Approved agents’ (‘Pet Funeral Arranger’ members of the APPCC, including funeral arrangers, pet undertakers, pet ambulances, bereavement counsellors, and celebrants); veterinary practices; and non-members providing these or other related services.