It began a week ago with a short announcement on Twitter: “This is really big. Earls is the first chain in North America to source all its beef from Certified Humane farms.”
Indeed, effective April 27, all 66 Earls across North America were to serve 100-percent Certified Humane beef. But the move meant that it would source from the United States, as Canadian suppliers would not be able to keep up the with company’s demand for Certified Humane, antibiotic-, steroid-free beef, according to the company.
Retweets and Favorites soon followed, but the Vancouver-based restaurant chain soon ran afoul of critical social media posts by Canadians upset that the company turned to its neighbor to the south to ensure that its demand for Certified Humane beef was met.
“You use to be my husband and I’s [sic] first pick for a restaurant and now after your latest ad campaign we will no longer be eating there,” one British Columbia cattle rancher wrote on her blog.
“[C]ongratulations on your decision to boycott Alberta beef, Albertans will follow your lead by boycotting Earls,” another angry Canadian posted on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the company announced on its website that it would be bringing back Alberta beef to its restaurants (59 of which are located in Canada), and that it would work with local farms “to build a supply of Alberta beef that meets their criteria.”
“We made a mistake when we moved away from Canadian beef. We want to make this right. We want Canadian beef back on our menus so we are going to work with local ranchers to build our supply of Alberta beef that meets our criteria,” President Mo Jessa said in the statement. “Alberta has supported us. We need to support Alberta, especially in tough times. We moved to a U.S. supplier as we thought they could supply all of our needs. It was a mistake not to include Canadian beef.”
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) called the company’s apology a “good first step” in a news release.
“Canadian animal care regulations and standards, including the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle, can stand up to, and perhaps even exceed, any world-wide certifications or standards. These regulations also govern antibiotic and hormone use in beef, and both ensure the judicious use of these important tools for animal welfare and environment sustainability and require that they are metabolized before the animal can become beef,” according to CCA.
“It’s become very clear to me that we have to get Canadian beef back onto Earls menu,” Jessa said in one of several videos posted on the company’s Twitter feed.