Wales has seen a sharp fall in the number of cattle slaughtered to control bovine TB.

The latest government statistics show that slaughter numbers fell by a third from 9,364 in the 12 months up to December 2012 to 6,275 for the same period last year.

New herd incidents also showed a dramatic drop of 23% in 2013 compared with 2012. Statistics show that there were 880 new herd incidents compared with 1,145 in the previous year.

More on bovine TB and the badger cull

This compares favourably with overall figures for the UK, which show a 6% reduction in new herd incidents, and a 15% fall in cattle slaughtered .

Wales farm minister Alun Davies suggested that the figures demonstrate that the Welsh government’s approach to bovine TB eradication was working. He said the first step of the eradication programme was to stop an increase in bovine TB and this point had been reached.

“I am delighted that overall the figures have come down. However, we cannot be certain that this is a long-term trend and there may still be more fluctuation in the figures,’’ he said.

In June, Wales will host a world conference on Mycrobacterium bovis involving countries that have made progress towards eradicating bovine TB.