Ecoterra Eggs – Santiago, Chile

Ecoterra Eggs – Santiago, Chile

Ecoterra is the first egg producer in Chile to promote the welfare of laying hens.

Ecoterra, a farm in Paine, Santiago, Chile that produces eggs, is the first farm in Chile to join the Certified Humane® program.

Launched in 2011, Ecoterra had a goal of changing industrialized agricultural systems in Chile to systems more in harmony with animals and the environment.

“Our goal is, and always has been, to create harmony between what the earth gives us and the way we produce our eggs, going back to what is natural for the animals and sustainable for the environment and integrating our local communities in the process,” says Founder and President Pablo Andres Albarrán Lama.

Albarráns parents were in banking and industry, so he says he’s “a first-generation farmer who simply loves animals and the environment.” He studied agricultural engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile, before finishing his degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. His thesis was on free-range systems and was the foundation for the animal welfare and environmental farm model he would eventually set up under the Ecoterra brand.

Founder and President Pablo Andres Albarrán Lama launched Ecoterra (“Eco” representing “ecology” and “terra” representing “earth”) with the goal of raising “free-range hens as close to nature as possible.”

After college, Albarrán returned to Chile, leased nine acres of land and 2,000 laying hens, and launched Ecoterra (“Eco” representing “ecology” and “terra” representing “earth”) with the goal of raising “free-range hens as close to nature as possible,” says Albarran. “We recognize animal behaviors and do a lot to make the hens happy. We have perches and scratching areas on pasture and in the barn. Our hens are free from cages and can develop their natural behaviors inside and outside of the henhouse. They are outside on pasture all day where they can dig, flap their wings, dustbathe, sleep, perch, and rest. Their vegetable diet is supplemented with insects that they find in our broad meadow plants.”

Within a few years, Albarrán realized the animal welfare system he set up on his farm was suddenly in high demand in the marketplace. “I could see the market was changing and people were starting to care about farm animals and their humane treatment,” says Albarrán.

But some of the eggs on the market were not meeting the high welfare standards he was implementing on his farm. “They were using words like “cage-free,” but they were not backed by any set of standards,” he said.

Ecoterra hens are outside on pasture all day where they can dig, flap their wings, dustbathe, sleep, perch, and rest. Their vegetable diet is supplemented with insects that they find in Ecoterra’s broad meadow plants.

Consumers can download the Certified Humane® app, which is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, to find nearby stores that sell Certified Humane® products.  For more information on HFAC and the Certified Humane® label, visit www.certifiedhumane.org.

As the first egg producer in Chile to promote the welfare of laying hens, Albarrán wanted his animal welfare system to mean something to consumers. “With so many supermarket chains and competitors, we were looking for a certification program that explained to the consumer what we were doing for the animals,” said Albarrán. “I saw the Certified Humane label on products in Brazil, Canada and the U.S. and learned about it. I realized through its standards and inspection process that the label would verify for the consumer the animal welfare work that we do every day.”

Ecoterra eggs can be found in more than 500 grocery stores in Chile, including Wal-Mart, as well as restaurants, hotels and via e-commerce.

Under their additional fair trade certification, they also work in alliance with local farms that produce eggs under the same Ecoterra system and same Certified Humane standards to help local farmers make a more sustainable living.  “Something a small farmer could not do on their own,” says Albarrán. “We’re helping them become entrepreneurs who can become sustainable environmentally and economically, and we’re helping them implement animal welfare standards on their farms as well.”

For more information on Ecoterra, visit http://ecoterra.cl/en/ .

Consumers can download the Certified Humane® app, which is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French, to find nearby stores that sell Certified Humane® products.  For more information on HFAC and the Certified Humane® label, visit www.certifiedhumane.org.