Padel, booming, in the sights of bird defenders in Spain

2023-11-24 12:16:00

“The padel courts”like all “glass infrastructures”, “constitute a barrier that birds do not identify as a threat”, “despite their overdeveloped visual system”underlines the NGO SEO/Birdlife which recently launched an awareness campaign on the subject.

For this reason, they are at the origin of numerous “collisions”which lead “death or injury”, adds the association in a press release. She specifies that she regularly finds deceased swallows, blackbirds and warblers. “at the foot of the courts”.

A problem that “especially affects young individuals” and who is “exacerbated during periods of migration”especially since padel courts are often built on the outskirts of towns and villages where biodiversity is important, insists SEO/Birdlife.

In recent years, several complaints from animal rights activists have been received by the Spanish justice system. This led the head of environmental issues within the General Prosecutor’s Office, Antonio Vercher, to take up the issue, relying on a recently adopted law concerning animal welfare.

In a letter addressed Monday to his colleagues from the various Spanish regional prosecutors’ offices, the latter called “the competent administrations” to ensure that “all necessary measures” be taken for “avoid or limit these collisions”.

The law on animal welfare, adopted in March by the Spanish Parliament, in fact considers “an offense” criminal mistreatment inflicted on animals, recalls this letter, consulted by AFP.

Among the solutions proposed by the associations is the installation of stickers or protective nets on transparent walls, making them visible. A technique successfully tested, according to SEO/Birdlife, in the Valencia region (East).

Created at the end of the 1960s in Mexico, padel – a derivative of tennis played in pairs on smaller courts lined with walls used for bouncing balls – is one of the sports which is currently experiencing the strongest growth in the world.

In Spain, this racket sport has become a real phenomenon in just a few years, with four million practicing it, or nearly 10% of the population. According to the Deloitte firm, the country now hosts 15,300 padel tracks, out of a total of 40,000 recorded in the world.

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