Earl’s Goes Halal

Vancouver chain restaurant Earl’s made the news this week by doing something no company would ever try: they proudly proclaimed they were buying American to the nation.

Now I wrote a post saying we should buy American when it’s the same product or service and its cheaper at an American company.  I stand by that.  If a package of socks is cheaper from a US website buy it there.   Don’t feel bad about saving some money.

So did Earl’s do something bad?  In this case yes.  Not legally bad.  Nothing like that.  Instead they pulled a fast one and really told a half truth to consumers.

Let me explain.

First let us start with Mo Jessa.  Seems like a nice guy and he’s the CEO of Earl’s.  Mo is short for Mohamed and yes he is a Muslim.  Well there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim.  I’m serious.  If you’re asking why did I bring it up keep reading.  ( Source )

Second, the new supplier for Earl’s is Creekstone Farms.  ( Source )  Now the reason Creekstone was chosen was because they could meet the demand Earl’s stated they had for beef that was treated humanely and free from chemicals.  The campaign is that Earl’s is conscious sourcing which really is an excuse to out-source or off-shore.  Spin it as you like that’s what it is.

Well Creekstone is a company that uses Halal slaughter methods.  What is Halal?  Well Wikipedia has its entry and I suggest you read it.  Basically Halal in this context refers to any food product prepared according to Islamic Law.  Think Sharia.

Okay now put items #1 and #2 together and you start to get the big picture.  Was this about conscious sourcing as Earl’s claims or was it about finding meat that met Islamic standards?  I think it is the latter.  As Johnny Cochrane said at the OJ Simpson Trial with respect to evidence, if the glove does not fit, you must acquit.  In other words, if it is obvious then it’s true.

Now examine the phrase conscious sourcing.  The connotation is that the animals are treated humanely.  In this case Creekstone meets the criteria.  They are not fed any chemicals and they are treated humanely.  But really that’s most farms in Canada contrary to what PETA tells you in an under cover operation.  Contrary to what people think hormones and most chemicals are banned in Canada already.  Antibiotics are used therapeutically in Canada when animals are sick and when you think about that that’s commonsense.  Why allow a sick animal to remain sick and infect a herd?

However, the slaughter in Halal is nothing pretty.  Animals are brought to the slaughter flood, a prayer or two is said, and then the animal’s throat is slit.  It dies by bleeding out.  While the death doesn’t take a huge amount of time it does take a few minutes.  Most non-Halal slaughter houses use a device that’s basically a pneumatic gun.  It propels a metal slug or rod into an animal’s head effectively obliterating the brain.  Death is almost instantaneous.  The animal doesn’t die by bleeding out on a floor.

I won’t tell you that commercial farms are great places.  They are not.  I think a lot of reform is needed to protect animals that are to be processed into food.  That said, don’t god damn tell me that Halal is conscious sourcing.  That’s bullshit.

Frankly it really feels that Earl’s wanted Halal meet to satisfy the Islamic community.  They still sell pork products and that does make me grin.  Pork is forbidden in Islam.  Yet this looks like another Canadian company that threw Canadian values aside in an effort to appease Muslims.  That they dressed this up as conscious sourcing makes me feel like I’ve been lied to.

Kicking Alberta to the curb was just cheap and trashy conduct by Earl’s and the management should be ashamed.

I won’t tell you to boycott Earl’s here.  I’ll let you decide for yourself.  As there is no Earl’s where I live the subject is moot to me.   If there was an Earl’s here though – I’d head to McDonald’s instead.

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