Charlene, the Jain religion is alive and well in India. That's the one where everything is sacred and some Jains even where masks so they won't accidentally breath in any small living microbes. Their funeral practices are as you describe - the body is placed in a Tower of Silence structure where the vultures take care of the corpse. Kind of macabre, isn't it?! The Tibetans also have a grisly practice of hacking up the dead body and feeding the parts to the vultures. Some Native American cultures placed the corpse up high on a plaform and let it return to the elements.
Cool info, Parlez. Tibetans pratice what they call "Sky Burial" and that is exactly what it is - they actually place the body of their loved one under the open sky and let nature reclaim the body setting the spirit free.
And the Inuit did a similar thing. The family was on a constant migration following herds of reindeer (therefore their food) and when the elders became to ill or frail to follow, they were left behind to die and return to nature.
It is primarily in North America where the aging process (and death itself) are both feared and misunderstood and are also such taboo subjects - kinda makes you wonder why, doesn't it?
I was a Social Worker in Palliative Care for years so I saw this attitude on a daily basis.