From The Guardian: "As human funeral providers increase their stakes in afterlife pet care, vets advise the reasons for using them go beyond the emotional"
Australians have one of the highest rates of pet ownership (61%) in the world and spend a collective $13bn annually on pet-related products and services, according to Animal Medicines Australia’s 2019 Pets in Australia report.
The social isolation imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has made companion animals more important than ever, says the University of South Australia’s Dr Janette Young.
Young led a study published in December 2020 in the Journal of Behavioural Economics for Policy, which found more than 90% of the pet owners interviewed identified cuddles, pats and other forms of cross-species touch as integral to their wellbeing during lockdown.
“These relationships [with pets] may be one of our greatest health-promoting resources at this time,” she says.
Tom Jorgensen, director of Queensland’s only independent pet crematorium, Pet Angel Funerals, says he cremates approximately 9,600 pets a year.
These range from cats, dogs and guinea pigs through to alpacas, water dragons and koi fish.
Packages range in price from $220 to $379 and include the pet’s collection from home or vet clinic, an individual cremation and return of ashes, a lock of fur and paw print if requested, certificate of cremation, engraved plaque and crystal guardian angel memento.
Other memorial products, including urns, lockets for ashes and memory bears, are also available.
The industry is growing at 9% per annum, according to human funeral provider InvoCare. In November 2020 InvoCare spent $49.8m on two pet cremation businesses – Western Australia-based Family Pet Care and Queensland-based Pets in Peace.
In an ASX announcement, InvoCare said the acquisitions represented a strategic expansion of the group’s existing pet cremation business in NSW, Patch and Purr.