Vancouver-based restaurant company Earls has seemingly angered almost everyone in Alberta after announcing that it plans to source its beef from the U.S. instead of Canada.
Earls announced Tuesday that it had become the first restaurant chain in North America to serve 100 per cent certified humane beef.
Eagle-eyed consumers quickly spotted that the decision meant switching from suppliers in Alberta to ones in Kansas.
"After months of trying, we were unable to source a federally inspected, certified humane producer that could consistently meet our large supply needs," according to Earls' website. " Certified humane was more important to us than origin, so we chose a U.S. supplier for our beef."
Alberta politicians across party lines quickly took to Twitter to voice their disapproval.
— Heather Forsyth (@HeatherMForsyth) April 28, 2016
— Brian Jean (@BrianJeanWRP) April 27, 2016
Let's hope every bar and restaurant NOT called Earl's has an increase in business starting tomorrow. I won' be setting foot in that place!
— Ric McIver (@RicMcIver) April 28, 2016
Rob McNabb, general manager of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, said that he was disappointed with Earls, as Canadian suppliers are not far off from meeting the restaurant chain's needs.
“We’re just not quite ready to provide the level of documentation they’re looking for,” he told the Calgary Herald. “But our intent is to meet the market needs as quickly as we can and offer even a broader program.”
Farmers were also upset with the move.
“When any chain says they’re going to look outside the province, I think that hurts a lot of people’s feelings," said Alberta farmer Tim Hoven, in an interview with Global News.
Hoven's cattle have been certified organic since the late 1990s.
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) April 28, 2016
Hundreds of Albertans have taken to Earls' Facebook and Twitter accounts to announce they intend to boycott the company.
Earls accused of supporting terrorists
While most are furious about the decision to outsource, but others have a more eyebrow-raising beef with the company.
After a commenter noted in a private Alberta farmers' Facebook group that Earls was now sourcing its meat from a supplier that also provided halal products, a false rumour began to circulate that the company was now using halal beef.
Somehow that led to anger over halal meat — which is prepared in line with Muslim beliefs — and its connection to Islam.
— Alberta First (@UWork4It) April 28, 2016
Another commenter suggested Earls — which has dozens of restaurants in Canada and the U.S. — was supporting "terrorists."
Earls stated that it will revisit its decision if Canadian suppliers are able to meet their demands for certified humane beef in future.
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Since grass-fed cows only graze on grass and other foraged foods, they are a lot leaner compared to conventional cattle. According to Mario Fiorucci, butcher and owner of Toronto's The Healthy Butcher, grass-fed beef is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. He also says it is higher in antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, B-vitamins, minerals, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Bone broth from grass-fed beef is considered immune boosting and anti-inflammatory. It's also known to provide collagen which benefits human bone, joint and skin health.
Grass-fed cattle eats grass and other greens found in nature, unlike standard supermarket beef which is pumped with corn, grain and antibiotics. The slurry, which helps the supermarket cows get bigger faster, has been known to lead to superbugs which pose a threat to human health. Buying 100% grass-fed beef directly from farms and butchers further reduces risks for contamination with standard grade beef.
Fiorucci points out that many of the plants that grow on earth cannot be used directly by humans as food. Fortunately, cows have the ability to convert these plants and residues into high-quality protein, in the form of meat and milk. Fiorucci also notes that a pasture beef farm has a neutral carbon footprint.
Fiorucci notes with compassion that beef cows are not meant to sit shoulder-to-shoulder in a feed lot. He adds that "actual 100% grass-fed beef is raised by a farmer who understands how to grow grass to properly nourish the beef."
The meat will look, taste and feel different, but when prepared with these differences in mind it is simply out-of-this-world delicious.