What are Whole-Family Cemeteries?

By: admin
Monday, March 4, 2019

With funerals at funeral homes in Burlington, WA, a lot of people are requesting that their pets buried beside them when they die. Pets have become a equal part of the family in our society, with many people referring to them as their children as their parents refer to them as grandchildren. The relationships are so close that the humans want to make sure their pets are laid to rest when they die right beside them. 

The Green Pet-Burial Society is working hard to make this a reality through the idea of whole-family cemeteries. While some private landowners allow pets to be buried with their owners, burying animals with humans is against the law in most states in America.   

As is the case with much of the laws regarding funerals, there is the question of appropriateness when it comes to burying animals with humans. This can be traced directly back to the adoption of Christianity as the Western religion by Constantine during his tenure as the Emperor of the Roman Empire (306-337 AD).  One of the tenets of Roman Christianity was that only humans had souls, so it was sacrilegious to buried animals with humans. 

When Washington state tried to pass legislation in 2009 that would have allowed pets to be buried in human cemeteries, it was defeated. The main argument was that people buy plots in human cemeteries in good faith that their religious convictions will not be violated, and many of those same people would not approve of pets being buried with humans. 

But for a growing number of people, one of their final wishes is that when their pets die that they be buried with them. Green Pet-Burial Society maintains an updated list of places where people can be buried with their pets. These places are called whole-family cemeteries. 

However, for the most part, it's difficult to find places that will – or can – allow pets to be buried with their owners. So pet lovers are finding creative ways to make sure their loved ones' final wishes are being honored. One common way is sneaking the cremains of a beloved pet into the casket of their owner before the casket is closed (this is still illegal in most states, by the way). 

The Green Pet-Burial Society is advocating for legislation that will allow each cemetery to decide whether or not pets can be buried with their owners. Right now, the legislation is done at the state level and the state legislature is the only authorized body to designate a cemetery as a whole-family cemetery. Cemeteries in many states seem to be interested in becoming whole-family cemeteries, but the cemetery owners don't consider this a priority and are not willing to try to push this onto state legislative agendas. 

You only need to look at the veterinary profession to see how profoundly it has changed in the last 30 years with all of the services it offers. Pet medical insurance is now available.   

Because of the elevated role of pets in families that is now common across the United States, the demand for whole-family cemeteries will only increase with time and the state legislators will have to either rule in favor statewide or give individual discretion to each cemetery to decide. 

For additional information about funerals at funeral homes in Burlington, WA, our compassionate and experienced team at Moles Farewell Tributes & Cremations – Bayview Chapel is here to help. You can stop by our funeral home at 2465 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 or you can contact us today at (360) 733-0510.  

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