So I finally came across a literate defense of the ambelopoulia practice here in Cyprus, but it still comes up short. On the website Κύπρος Κυνήγι (Cyprus Hunting), an article originally published in the Cypriot newspaper Φιλελεύθερος by Παμπου Βασιλα was reproduced, titled “Οι καλές μέρες των “πουλιών” στον Άγιο Θεόδωρο” (“The good days of “bird” in Ayios Theodoros”).
I saw literate, because it’s a coherent argument. But that’s about the only good point about it. Feel free to translate the whole thing with Google translator, but I’ll just translate the first paragraph, from which you can get the gist:
The ampelopoulia was important income for the village and provided income for a significant number of residents. Since the trapping was banned, the villagers say that the economy of the village collapsed and many no longer have significant income, enabling them to live.
That’s this particular argument – that the people of this village are unable to earn income in any way except poaching. It’s a attitude void of personal responsibility, plain and simple. Any hard working individual in today’s society can recognize that there are plenty of legal ways to earn a living – but they have to want to – to say nothing of the responsibility that these people have for how their actions impact the world around them.
Moreover, if they really want this tradition so much, and the income that comes with it, they could legitimately do so by raising the birds themselves. That would be legitimate business (even if I would still find it distasteful), and not the in discriminant slaughter that limesticking currently is. But they don’t want to.
And in any case, with the number of limesticks and mist nets still in use, and restaurants numbering in the dozens still serving ambelopoulia, are we supposed to believe these Cypriots when they say they no longer trap wild birds?