The number of cattle slaughtered in the UK due to bovine tuberculosis has risen by 12% in the past year, according to DEFRA.
From January to October last year 31,146 cattle were slaughtered as reactors or direct contacts, compared to 27,788 over the same period in 2011.
In England alone, 23,159 cattle were slaughtered from January to October last year.
The number of new herd incidents during January to October last year rose by 4% to 4,146 from 3,983 over the previous 12 months.
However, the rises in TB cases coincided with an increase in the number of tests on officially TB free herds, from 50,954 in 2011 to 60,218 last year.
The figures showed 6,861 cattle herds were under restrictions in the UK from January to October last year, including 4,991 in England.
“These figures underline why it is essential that we use every tool at our disposal to tackle the spread of this devastating disease.”
Since the beginning of 2010, 98,455 cattle have been culled in the UK owing to TB.
A DEFRA spokesman said: “These figures underline why it is essential that we use every tool at our disposal to tackle the spread of this devastating disease.
“This means dealing with the reservoir of disease in wildlife and strong cattle measures such as movement controls and regular testing.”
As part of its Bovine TB Eradication Programme for England, DEFRA has committed to a badger cull to control the spread of the disease. The delayed pilot culls are due to begin this summer.
In contrast, the Welsh government dropped its plans for a badger cull last year in favour of a badger vaccination programme, which is under way in Pembrokeshire.
The latest bovine TB statistics for the UK, released by DEFRA on Wednesday (16 January) are based on TB testing results obtained by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).