UPDATE MAY 4 2016: Earls has committed to moving back to Canadian Beef! This is a big win for Canadian suppliers and evidence that Earls is a company that cares about our local economy and customer feedback. Congrats Earls for making the hard decision and making it right.
We think there are some holes in both sides of the boycott Earls debate, which we have outlined below. Fair warning, there is some foul language in this post due to the use of the word bullshit as a pun. If you would like to read our review of what is actually a decent steak, you can read the whole Earls Certified Humane Steak review.
1. Earls Customers Didn’t Ask for Humanely Killed Beef
Lets call a spade a spade. Earl’s customers didn’t ask for beef that was certified humane. That’s bullshit.
No one responded when asked, “How was your steak?” with, “Good, but it could have been more humanely killed.” Come on, do you think we’re stupid?
The only way a customer said that they wanted more humanely killed beef was if they were asked a leading question like, “Do you think our beef should be more humanely killed?” Um, yeah. That’s like asking if you think killing is bad. No one wants to be the asshole who says no.
The reality is, the people who really care about the humanity of animals ate at The Coup last night, not Earls.
2. The Words Humane and Killing Don’t Go Together
As someone who looks into the eyes of the animals I eat, I can tell you that no matter how you look at it, killing is not humane. The difference between hunting and eating raised to be eaten meat is that wild animals at least have a chance to survive, not to mention a life of freedom.
Whether they are wild or not, these animals still die to feed us. However, cattle raised in a humane manner, much like cattle who were not, never had a chance. Certified Humane cattle have just been lied to slightly more than a normal cow about what the future holds. They are still dinner.
This isn’t to say that cattle in Alberta aren’t raised in a humane manner, it just means that a bullshit certification really doesn’t mean much. If lying to yourself about how a cow was raised and slaughtered makes you feel better about the steak you eat at Earls, then all the power to you.
However, just because a cow was less aware of the fact that it was about to die, doesn’t mean it is any less dead.
3. Boycotting Earls Won’t Change a Damn Thing
The whole boycott Earls thing is a sham. Most of the people boycotting Earls aren’t actually eating there anyways.
If you already dine at Earls and really want to send a message, then keep eating at Earls, continue to support the local economy. Just don’t order the steak. Eat the chicken, the fish, and everything else, but not the steak.
Then, every time you eat there, ask for the manager and tell them how much you love the restaurant, and why you didn’t order the beef. Make the managers hear it every single day.
If their beef sales go down, and they are made aware of their actual customers dissatisfaction, they will get the message.
4. Certified Humane is PR Bullshit
If anyone believes for a second that Earls doesn’t have the buying power to dictate the processing practices of their suppliers, then you might as well put on a tinfoil hat and join the conspiracy theorists waiting for the aliens to come.
This whole thing isn’t about the process, it’s about branding. Certified Humane is a registered trademark, and Earls wanted nothing more than to be able to say that they were the first restaurant to serve only 100% Certified Humane beef.
In my estimation, forcing suppliers to implement humane practices wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was likely convincing their suppliers to pay an extortionist beef ransom to the Certified Humane people just so they could call it what it already was.
Honestly, this whole thing stinks. But a year from now, no one will remember, and it will be business as usual for Earls.
After all, when you combine good food, with good service and good looking servers, no one will end up caring where the beef came from. What a shame.