In a move that surprised many in the Canadian cattle industry, Earls Kitchen + Bar announced Wednesday that the chain will source as much beef as possible from Alberta.
“We are listening to Canadians, and primarily out of Alberta, we’re listening to the industry,” corporate executive chef Phil Gallagher told RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney in an interview (included below). “We realize that we should have worked harder with local ranchers and industry to create a supply of beef that met our criteria.”
Earls originally announced the move to 100% “Certified Humane” beef a little over a week ago, but after receiving a storm of social media backlash, the company has decided to rethink its decision.
“We want to fix it,” said Gallagher. “We want to make it right.”
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After 2-3 years of research into beef programs that assured consumers of ethical treatment through an audited process, the company decided on the “Certified Humane” label, operated under the American not-for-profit organization Humane Farm Animal Care.
But many Canadian producers feel the designation implies their uncertified beef has not been raised with animal welfare in mind.
“We believe Albertans are raising their beef humanely,” Gallagher explained, “and this was never our intention to imply anything other than that.”
Beef sourced from Canada won’t necessarily be labeled “Certified Humane,” but the company won’t be changing its animal welfare criteria, and will look for programs that offer audited assurance of quality product.
There are no timelines yet, but Earls’ goal is to ultimately have all of its beef sourced from Canadian producers. He says they have already had “a lot of ranchers” reach out to offer help.