New Zealand is modifying its cemetery law. Will it honor the wishes of those wanting to bury their animals’ remains in their family’s cemetery plot?
by Rachael Ford 1709 words
In late 2013, Rachael Ford informed the Green Pet-Burial Society about New Zealand’s process of updating its cemetery law. A registered nurse, Rachael is the founder of With Our Loved Ones (WOLO), dedicated to establishing whole-family cemeteries in NZ. We support WOLO and sent a detailed letter to the NZ government in support of conservation whole-family cemeteries. We invited Rachael to prepare a guest blog about pet burial practices in New Zealand and her founding of WOLO. Here she provides a background on NZ cemetery law, Māori tradition, and a poetic recollection of grief for her dog Beulah.
New Zealand, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, is in the process of updating its Burial and Cremation Act of 1964. The Law Commission invited submissions from citizens, stakeholders and experts on how to improve the current law (the Green Pet-Burial Society was among the respondents). So in November 2013 I formed With Our Loved Ones (WOLO), an ad hoc group of New Zealanders and supporters dedicated to the formation of whole-family cemeteries in NZ. Continue reading →
Still frame from The Snowman and The Snowdog. 2012. Hilary Audus, director.
Most every holiday highlights family – the family into which we were born or adopted, or the ones we create for ourselves. All those relations of different ages, thoughts and species are special to us in their own way. For those who have experienced the recent passing of a family member, close friend or teacher, or who are reminded of days gone by, of reassuring glances, or of playful and gentle touch, we ask: how can one’s reminiscence and grief coincide with so much holiday cheer? Continue reading →
New legislation in New York State would make it possible for people to have their pet’s cremated remains (a.k.a. cremains) interred with them in certain NY cemeteries.
Originally introduced on March 21, 2013 by Republican Mike Ranzenhofer and cosponsored by Democrat Tony Avella, Bill S4322 already passed the Senate this past March in a landslide vote of 60-0 (with one abstention). It now awaits deliberation by the NYS Assembly (follow its progress here). The bill – which only pertains to cemeteries governed by the NYS Cemetery Board – permits those cemeteries to offer this option. Continue reading →
Update: On April 3, 2014, the Virginia Governor signed HB 588 into law.
The Virginia State Capitol – Thomas Jefferson’s “Temple to Democracy”
A bill (HB 588) was introduced in the Virginia General Assembly that would amend the State Cemetery Code to allow human cemeteries to designate a special section for the burial of human remains with their companion animals in adjacent graves. It was introduced by republican Delegate Israel O’Quinn with Delegate A. Benton Chafin, Jr. as Chief Co-Patron.
The issue was brought to Delegate O’Quinn’s attention by Kelly Farris, co-owner of Farris Funeral Services, who has been receiving increasing requests from folk who want to keep their family intact in death as they were in life. Continue reading →
2012 has been an eventful year for our Green Pet-Burial Society. This work is continually buoyed by the simple question:
Why is this important?
It’s not only about burials – it’s so much more than that! It’s about our worldviews of Nature, animals and our own humanity, and it’s about embracing all that is simple and beautiful in life. We’ve learned of four new green cemeteries that allow a pet’s remains to be buried in the family plot – two in the U.S. and two in the U.K. – and we’ve seen established pet cemeteries plan for new green burial sections. Here are some other highlights: Continue reading →
This night before Thanksgiving, I saw a stunning and quite surprising film on PBS – part of its Nature series. Entitled My life as a turkey, it chronicles the hatching, growing, learning, exploring and socialization of two groups of sibling wild turkeys and their adopted man-mom, naturalist Joe Hutto (played by Jeff Palmer). Remarkably,
Joe was “born into a hardcore turkey hunting family and culture.” Fascinating
and utterly moving, this film illustrates a somewhat enviable experience of living with young turkeys (‘poults’):
These animals were telling me how to live my life; also, we [humans] do not have a privileged access to reality.
Stories of human-turkey relationships only provide greater credence to the families any of us may form with other creatures – dogs, cats, rabbits, rats – all of whom deserve our affection and rescue from otherwise terrible ends by human hands.
The scene that prompted this post: two of the birds had died, and we see Joe digging their graves. Continue reading →
A dear friend of our Green Pet-Burial Society, Doyle L. Shugart, passed on July 8, 2012. He is widely known and respected for establishing Deceased Pet Care, Georgia’s first and only full service pet funeral home and the largest pet funeral home in the nation.
Doyle founded Deceased Pet Care in 1972 at a time when (many if not most) regarded pet cemeteries as curiosities. Along with his wife, Maudann, and their three children, Keith, Kyle, and Donna, the Shugarts grew Deceased Pet Care to three locations, which include two pet cemeteries. Under his compassionate guidance, they have supported and comforted numerous bereaved families. Continue reading →
Families can now arrange to have their pet’s body flown back home for burial.
Every year, hundreds if not thousands of families arrange for the body of a loved one to be flown home for burial; most notably recovered military personnel who died overseas. Their military comrades are often seen flying on commercial airlines as they accompany the remains of fallen women and men on the solemn journey home (read an online discussion by airline personnel and others). Continue reading →
Marketing bacon and hot dogs with coffins? Sometimes we’re tempted to say that certain things just don’t warrant comment. However, students of popular culture, animal studies and/or death studies may find this post particularly useful when illustrating cultural values and ideas about animals, food, death and humor.
Below are two examples of businesses mixing the accoutrements of human funerals with meat; by so doing, they focus our attention on the particular products they sell – bacon and hot dogs – and the bodies they come from. The unexamined words, images and materials that we use and encounter shape our cultural values, experiences and understanding of the world, and can sometimes create great distance among people, as well as between humans and other species.
Just before April 1 (a.k.a., April Fool’s Day), a news item about a new bacon-themed coffin received a fair amount of media attention with many respondents inquiring if it was “real” or a hoax. It was created and marketed by Seattle-based J&D Foods (although more accurately, the coffin markets them). They explain that it was created for “the bacon fan who loves bacon to death.” (see video below) Continue reading →
Thank You for your interest in, and support of, the Green Pet-Burial Society. What an extraordinary year! When I founded the Society in early 2010, it was important to launch our website first in order to provide grieving individuals and families with information they needed to make practical and green burial arrangements upon the passing of a beloved animal. No other service provides the type of information we do. It’s heartening to know that many found help either directly from us or from the information posted. Continue reading →
I proposed to the LA Pet Memorial Park that they designate a portion of their park exclusively for natural burials. The President of the Board, David Stiller, brought this issue up at their recent board meeting where it was enthusiastically received. Continue reading →
When a beloved companion passes, it can be wrenching. This may especially be true when others neither understand nor are sympathetic to your grief.
During such intense times we seek comfort through private rituals and the arrangements made for a loved one’s remains. When a companion animal dies, cremation is the most common practice, but a natural home burial is also commonplace – for those with yards. For those of us without land who prefer burial, the option for a natural burial in a cemetery is nearly nonexistent. Continue reading →