A total of 299,000 cattle which originated from controlled finishing units (CFU) were slaughtered during 2020.

The number of cattle originating from these units has been increasing year on year since 2015, making up 15.91% of the total State kill in 2020.

This is up from 11.89% in 2015 when 198,000 cattle originated from CFUs.

The details were revealed in a response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on agriculture Matt Carthy.

The Department of Agriculture defines certain herds as controlled finishing units in the context of the Bovine TB Eradication Programme.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said: “This definition is unique to that programme and does not necessarily mirror the use of the term feedlot by the public or other institutions.”

These units are subject to enhanced biosecurity measures as part of the TB Programme and can only sell direct to slaughter.