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Another sort of animal cemetery

2013 June 9

 

hillside

Animal graves at HIllside Animal Sanctuary , Frettenham, near Norwich

I have just sent off the proofs for my forthcoming article on various animal cemeteries that will be published in the book Animal Death.

Perhaps one of the most interesting developments in commemorating animal death is the burial ground that exists at the (original) Hillside Animal Sanctuary just outside Norwich. The sanctuary does not only take in and look after thousands of abandoned ‘farm’ animals and horse and donkeys but also undertakes investigations into animal cruelty particularly in farming. As the Sanctuary states on its website ‘Although at Hillside we have given sanctuary to 750 horses, ponies and donkeys, most of our residents have been rescued from the farming industry’. (It routinely exposes atrocious conditions even in farms given RSPCA approval.) Animals are not killed but live out their days safely. They are then buried in a small graveyard in the centre of the sanctuary adjacent to the fields where cows graze. The graves are simple, but large, and adorned with wooden simple crosses.

What is striking about the Hillside example is that the type of animal usually killed in a slaughterhouse and whose corpse is eaten is taking on the status of a companion animal or human being very visibly in a cemetery form.

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