Friday, September 21, 2012

Cemeteries for Human and Nonhuman Animals

The Corriere della Sera newspaper (via Pietro Melis) reports that in Fauglia, a village near Pisa, Italy, a "mixed" cemetery is being planned in response to the requests of many people who want to be buried with their pets, dogs, cats, horses and other domestic animals, nonhuman members of their families dear to them.

This is going to be the first in Italy. Animal rights people are all in favour, while some others are perplexed, often for religious reasons.

«The land has already been allocated» says Fauglia's mayor Carlo Carli, «the project is innovative and lots of people are looking forward to it».

In the UK such cemeteries already exist. In Cornwall, England, there are about 30 people buried with their animals, and 120 all over the country have "booked" their place in similar cemeteries.

The great Romantic poet Lord Byron, after unsuccessfully trying to get permission to be buried next to his beloved Newfoundland dog Boatswain, dedicated to him an "Epitaph To a Dog", which starts:

"Near this spot Are deposited the Remains Of one Who possessed Beauty Without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, And all the Virtues of Man Without his Vices. The Price, which would be unmeaning flattery If inscribed over Human Ashes, Is but a just tribute to the Memory of “Boatswain,” a Dog Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803, And died in Newstead Abbey, Nov. 18, 1808."

Byron spent several years in Pisa (and nearby Livorno) and probably knew those hills where the shared cemetery will be created. It is quite possible that this cemetery will be dedicated to him.

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