I don’t usually wade into the midst of public debate on a current issue, but I’m tired, upset and angry with the way Canadian producers have been under attack lately. First it was A&W and now it’s the Earls restaurant chain who have decided to shun Canadian beef in favour of what they call “humane” beef raised south of the border.
I really am at a loss as to what that label or designation actually means, but I am willing to bet that it has nothing to do with better quality meat and everything to do with sneaky marketing tactics. Unfortunately, the average consumer takes these claims to be the truth without digging deeper to find out if there is any substance to them.
Although my husband and I live on a farm, we do not raise cattle. But every summer a small herd is brought in to pasture around our yard, and my husband and his family always had both milk cows and beef cattle when he was growing up. Although I might not know much about cattle, I do know many farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods depend on raising good quality beef. These people work long, hard hours often in the worst weather conditions caring for their livestock.
I wonder if those who eagerly jump on the A&W and Earls bandwagon really understand the kind of dedication that goes into producing top-quality beef. Producers take great care to see that calves are safely delivered, cows are well-fed and the herd is healthy and disease-free. Yes, sometimes antibiotics are used, that’s because no conscientious rancher would ever want his or her animals to unduly suffer. But there has always been a withdrawal time to ensure the meat is safe for consumption.
Why wouldn’t ranchers take the best possible care of their cattle? This is their investment. This is their livelihood, but more than that, it is a way of life that they love. Ranchers take great pride in raising healthy, top-of-the-line stock. In fact, every aspect of how they raise their animals is not only humane but also ethical.
If anything is unethical in this entire debate, it is the manner in which companies try to fool the consumers into thinking they are getting something which they are not.
I am glad to see the Cattlemen’s Association counter these claims with some real facts. It’s time that consumers were more educated about how their food is produced and how these animals are raised.
Right now this consumer will not be supporting any company that tries to sell their product through biased, murky claims that do nothing more than scare and confuse people in order to make a sale!