Lift the ban on smokies

The tone of the article on your website ('Carmarthen man jailed for smokies production', 6 April) makes it sound like the offending chap was a bit of a joker, caught up in an unfortunate escapade with some illegal meat in the back of his lorry. But the trade in smokies is quite another story.

The illegal meat trade in Wales is sizeable, and there are a number of mafia-like gangs in the country that have proliferated, thanks to smokies production (lamb with its skin on).

I know of people who have had their businesses affected by these gangs and their activities regarding production of skin-on lamb meat. This illegal trade can worsen infections in the lamb stock, and the gangs make life misery for anyone in the industry who gets in their way.

I, for one, hope that HCC Meat Promotion Wales succeeds in persuading a new government, of whatever hue, to revoke the ban on smokies. It would prevent the dangerous, illegal slaughter of old sheep and the subsequent blowtorching of their skins, while also providing new opportunities for those operators who work within the law. Why not give help to those people rather than to the illegal gangs?