More than 12,000 cattle were slaughtered due to bovine tuberculosis in the first four months of this year.
Government statistics show that nationally 12,061 cattle were compulsorily destroyed during that time.
This is slightly lower than the number of TB slaughtering across Britain during the same period last year, which was 12,279.
A controversial cull of badgers, to help stamp out the disease, is scheduled for this summer in West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.
The figures were greeted with dismay but not surprise by cattle farmers throughout the Westcountry yesterday. The statistics show that in April alone 2,740 cattle were slaughtered because of the disease.
There were 5,978 beef and dairy herds under movement restrictions having had cattle that either went down with the disease or reacted positively to tests. Of these 493 were in Cornwall, 1,043 in Devon, 180 in Dorset and 319 in Somerset.
"It's all desperately disappointing," said Bill Harper, who farms on the Cornwall and Devon border and is the TB representative on the National Beef Association's South West region.
"The figures just demonstrate how virulent a disease this is. It's running riot and an enormous concerted effort is needed to defeat it. It's driven by infected badgers, who are breeding. These statistics are nothing short of desperate, with continual reports of outbreaks throughout the region."
Cattle controls would simply stop people from farming – not stop the onward progress of the disease, he insisted. And he warned the Government was being disingenuous with its strategy, which contained nothing about a scheme for identifying diseased badger setts and will take 25 years to wipe out the disease.
Mr Harper added. "The Government should either take the shackles off farmers and allow them to deal with the disease themselves – or do it and shoulder the cost without placing the financial burden on farmers."
Melanie Squires, regional director of the National Farmers' Union, said farmers were already making huge efforts to contain TB at great financial and emotional cost, because of years of inaction.
She said: "With over 1,000 herds under restrictions in Devon alone, while it is at least good to see the Government launching a TB eradication strategy which includes tackling the disease in wildlife, principally badgers, farmers are hugely frustrated that this is over such a long timescale and fear livestock farming in the South West will be run down significantly. That would will hit the rural economy and jobs as well as depriving consumers of the locally produced food they say they want."
Mrs Squires said the problem had been brushed under the carpet for political expediency, and that thousands of cattle had been sacrificed for no significant gain – because the wildlife reservoir of TB has been the "elephant in the room".
She added: "While we welcome the current commitment to pilot badger culls, until farmers see these under way with a roll-out programme in place for other areas, the fear is that there is going to be yet more pain for farmers and their stock with no gain in terms of disease eradication.
"Our priority is to rid the countryside of disease for the benefit of cattle and badgers while ensuring that farmers are not straight-jacketed by restrictions, or rendered unviable by costs to the point where they simply cannot continue."
Farming Minister David Heath, Lib Dem MP for Somerton and Frome admitted TB was placing an enormous burden on farm incomes. "Once again these figures show the very real need to stop TB from its relentless march across the countryside," he said. "That's why we have launched our TB eradication strategy that sets out our plan to make England TB Free within 25 years.
"Bovine TB is the most pressing animal health problem in the UK, threatening cattle farmers' livelihoods and our farming industry as well as the health of wildlife and livestock and we must do all we can to get on top of it."
The figures showed the April 2013 TB incidence rate was 4.1%, compared to 3.8% in April 2012. The number of new herds affected by bovine TB during the four months was 1,838.
The Government is currently seeking comments on its strategy during a 12-week consultation period. It is also focusing on the development of new techniques such as badger and cattle vaccines and new diagnostic tests "that could one day offer new ways of tackling the disease".
The average cost of a TB herd breakdown is around £34,000, of which £22,000 falls to the taxpayer and £12,000 to farmers.
Last year a total of 28,000 cattle were slaughtered in England because of TB.