To anyone with common sense this story seems bizarre. Mrs Khalid recently lost her ginger-and-white male cat of 11 years of age, Sherekhan, when he was hit by a car. He was found by the side of the road. Unfortunately his body was not found by her owner, Mrs Khalid, but by a contractor, Viridor, working for the local authority, Bury Council. This is in Greater Manchester, UK, as far as I know.
Mrs Khalid telephoned the contractor and was told that her cat had been placed in a red bag which classifies his body as hazardous to humans. The red bag could only be retrieved by another contractor she was told, which I presume is a business involved in the disposal of hazardous waste.
Mrs Khalid explained that she only wanted her cat back to bury him in the garden. She was particularly keen to do this because he was a family member as all cats are and he wasn’t a stray and her grandchildren were crying because they loved him. They wanted to have closure on the matter by going through the burial.
Viridor refused her request to return his body for the burial. The company said:
“Unfortunately in circumstances as sensitive as these we must still abide by waste legislation which dictates that once the waste (now classified as hazardous clinical) enters our facility only licensed contractors can remove it off-site for appropriate treatment.”
I have to presume that “appropriate treatment” means incineration at a commercial facility.
There it is. I have just learnt from the those who know best (!) that a dead cat is hazardous to humans and must be classified as “hazardous clinical”. That would seem to put a dead cat in the same category as clinical waste from a hospital.
Make of it what you will but if this cat had been found by Mrs Khalid he would have been taken home in a plastic bag or a box and buried. There would have been tears but there would have been closure and the right thing would have happened. In addition nobody would have become ill because of the burial process. I would like to know what sort of hazard the body of a dead cat poses to a person who wishes to bury it provided reasonable precautions are taken.
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