Andalusia’s regional gov­ern­ment has tem­porar­ily banned the use of machines to har­vest olives at night, accord­ing to a report from Jaén’s asso­ci­a­tion of young farm­ers (ASAJA).

The ban will remain in place until the autonomous com­mu­ni­ty’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Research and Training Institute can con­duct a study on the impacts of super-​intensive har­vest­ing on local and migrat­ing bird pop­u­la­tions.

Upon com­ple­tion of the study, which is expected in the next week or two, the min­istry will make its rec­om­men­da­tions before lift­ing the ban.

Earlier this year, Portugal’s Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests pub­lished a report that esti­mates 2.6 mil­lion birds are killed each year dur­ing the olive har­vest­ing sea­son in Andalusia.

The birds are killed at night by inten­sive har­vest­ing machines, which rake and vac­uum olives out of the trees. The bright lights used by these machines dis­ori­ent the birds, which are then unable to escape from the trees and are sucked into the machines.

Some farm­ers har­vest their olives at night while cooler tem­per­a­tures help to pre­serve their qual­ity char­ac­ter­is­tics.



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