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HydroCremation

Agricultural Animal, Canine, Equine, Exotics/Wildlife, Feline
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HydroCremation Service

Individual and group HydroCremations are performed at the College of Veterinary Medicine using the alkaline hydrolysis process, a proven water-based alternative that yields the same dry, powdered mineral ash as cremations by incineration with only a tenth of the energy use and associated environmental impact.

For individual HydroCremations, each animal is carefully identified and tracked before, during, and after the HydroCremation process using a combination of authorization forms, individual tracking tags, and unique identification numbers to ensure the highest degree of accuracy possible. The animals are separately contained in specially-designed vessels during the HydroCremation process and we provide a Certificate of HydroCremation with ashes from each individual HydroCremation.

There are two options for returning the ash from individual HydroCremations of companion animals (i.e., pets weighing less than 175 pounds). With the basic option, the ash is placed in a sealed plastic bag, which is then placed in a sturdy white paperboard box (similar in construction to a jewelry or hat box) that is suitable for long-term storage but also enables convenient burial or dispersal of the ash. For an additional fee, ashes can be returned in a high-quality wooden urn with the ashes placed in a sealed plastic bag inside the urn. Our urns are made in the USA by a small family-owned company using Alder hardwood harvested from sustainably-managed forests in the northwestern US. The urns are hand-crafted and finished with 3 coats of water-based stain. With either option, an appropriately-sized urn is used.

The Environmentally-Safe Option

The College of Veterinary Medicine uses HydroCremation: a state-of-the-art, water-based, proven process to prepare your pet—from parakeets to draft horses—for final resting. Safer for the environment and for society than the traditional method, the College’s sustainable approach produces 90 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and is used at multiple animal health facilities in North America.
Your pet will be carefully identified throughout the process and is cremated in an individual vessel. We use individual tracking tags and unique identification numbers, ensuring the highest degree of accuracy possible until your loved one’s ashes are returned in a sealed container with a certificate of cremation. Wooden urns are available upon request.
Arrangements can be made by pet owners, their representatives, or their veterinarians. Animals can be brought to the College of Veterinary Medicine or to a participating animal hospital. Please call to schedule an appointment and for directions.

Find Peace With Your Friend's Passing

Anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one knows how difficult it can be to navigate the grieving process and to say goodbye. The emotional pain is just as deep for a person who has lost the companionship and love of a beloved pet.
Pets are much-loved members of millions of families. Meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships characterize human-animal bonds that can make it very difficult when our pets pass. For someone who has truly loved a pet, the loss of that animal can feel just as devastating as a human loss, as the very characteristics that make animals different than humans often make them more endearing. Like grief for humans, grief for animal companions is most effectively reconciled with time and in stages.
Grieving is a process of physical, emotional, social, and cognitive reactions to loss and the process will be different for everyone. Studies have found that people oft en go through stages of grief. Although responses to loss are as diverse as the people experiencing it, many people journey through similar stages, including the following:

  • Shock/Denial
  • Searching/Yearning
  • Disorganization
  • Reorganization
If you would like to speak about the loss of your pet, we invite you to call the consultants at Cornell’s pet loss support line at 607.253.3932. Consultants are available Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 6 to 9 pm est. For more information, visit www.vet.cornell.edu/Org/Petloss/.

HydroCremation Rates

October 1, 2015

Species Example Weight Range (pounds) Individual* Group**
Most Companion Animals 0-100 $100 $30
Larger Dogs, Small Farm Animals 101-175 $175 $50
Medium Farm Animals 176-500 $350 $150
Small to Medium Horses 501-1,000 $1,000 $300
Large Horses 1,001-1,500 $1,500 $450
Very Large Farm Animals over 1,500 $2,000 $600

* Ashes are returned for Individual HydroCremations. Optional shipping charges are $20 for animals weighing up to 175 lbs and $30 for animals weighing over 175 lbs. Ashes are returned in a sealed plastic bag inside a cardboard box with a Certificate of HydroCremation; Wooden urns are available for animals weighting up to 175 lbs for $60.
** Ashes are not returned for Group HydroCremations

Authorization Form

The HydroCremation Authorization Form can be found here.

Directions to the Cornell CVM Hydrocremation Service

The CVM HydroCremation Service is located at the College of Veterinary Medicine on the Cornell University Campus in Ithaca, New York. Please note that the Service is located near, but not in the same building as the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. The Service is open 7:00am to 3:30pm, M-F. Dropoffs outside of these hours can be arranged upon request. Directions from Rt. 366/Dryden Road (map on next page):

  • Take Rte 366/ Dryden Road to traffic light at Caldwell Drive (Between the Cornell Orchards and the Hamlet of Varna)
  • Turn North onto Caldwell and proceed through the (3-way stop) intersection with Campus Rd.
  • Turn Left onto Farrier Road immediately past Campus road (look for brown sign on the right side of Caldwell with "Hydrocremation Service" near the bottom)
  • Follow the brown signs on Farrier Road as the route turns right and bends to the left past the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab building.
  • The Hydrocremation Service loading dock will be on your left in approximately 100 yards
  • Park in the designated short-term spot at the end of the ramp - the facility door is in the corner of the loading dock behind the white storage trailer. The facility staff wear uniforms with burgundy shirts; if you can’t see anyone just inside the building, call the facility phone (253-3288) and they will come to you.
The facility’s address is 317 Farrier Rd, Ithaca, NY 14853; GPS maps show this address approximately 100 yards east of the facility on Farrier Rd, near the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. Call 607-253-3288 (HydroCremation Service) or 607-279-7365 (Paul Jennette’s cellphone) if you have additional questions or need assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve heard the process involves dangerous chemicals, is this true?

The Hydro-Cremation process uses a combination of water, steam and lye. While it is very caustic, lye is one of the basic ingredients traditionally used to make soap.

Are the ashes clean?

Yes, in addition to being sterile, the HydroCremated remains are triple-rinsed to remove any residual lye.

What about the liquid generated by the process?

The liquid “hydrolysate” is trucked to a treatment facility in Ithaca where it is used to produce biogas, which is then used to generate electricity and heat for the treatment facility, thus reducing the region’s dependence on fossil fuels.

What size animals can be HydroCremated?

We have successfully HydroCremated animals as small as lizards and parakeets, and as large as draft horses and bulls.

How long does it take for ashes to be ready for return?

HydroCremations are performed at least once per week on Thursdays and more frequently based on demand. Ashes from individual hydrocremations received by Thursday morning are typically ready for pickup or shipping on the following Tuesday (large animals may require additional time). Additional time is required for necropsies to be performed when they are requested.

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