The National Farmers Union has denied launching legal action against Thanet District Council after the authority temporarily banned live exports through the Port of Ramsgate.
A spokesman for the union said that animal rights campaigners had "scored an own goal" because plans to move the exports to Ipswich meant longer journeys for the animals.
"We are aware there is legal action pending against Ramsgate Port but the NFU is not bringing that action. Ramsgate is an open port under national law and the council cannot be surprised this legal action is going ahead as they can't contravene national or EU legislation that governs free trade.
"It is a lawful trade. There is a lot that could be done in Europe to ensure that there is consistent and fair enforcement of what is a large raft of animal welfare legislation."
– William White, Regional Director of the NFU in the South East
A legal challenge has been served on a local council in Kent over its decision to suspend live animal exports through the Port of Ramsgate.
Thanet District Council has received notice of an application for a judicial review after it temporarily banned live exports last month.
The suspension was introduced after 42 sheep which arrived at the port in a lorry unfit for transporting live animals had to be put down.
The deaths occurred after the RSPCA provided a report to the council highlighting the port's inadequate facilities.
The local authority said the suspension would be lifted if suitable facilities could be built within the port and whether it deemed it a priority compared with other issues.
Thanet District Council declined to name those behind the legal challenge but said it intends to mount a "vigorous defence".
"Thanet District Council has been served with legal proceedings which challenges its decision to suspend live animal movements from the Port of Ramsgate. The challenge aimes to overturn its decision and sought damages for breach of European Law."
"It also sought an interim order requiring the council to reopen the port for live animal movements pending the outcome of the judicial review application."