Protesters turned out as live animal exports resumed at the Port of Dover amid renewed calls for an end to the controversial trade.
A High Court injunction is to be served on Thanet District Council overturning its decision to suspend live animal exports through Ramsgate.
Animal right campaigners in Kent are celebrating tonight after what seems almost certainly the end of live exports from Ramsgate.
The RSPCA will find out today whether they have got permission for a full judicial review into live animal exports from Ramsgate in Kent.
It comes after more than 40 sheep had to put down at the port last September.
The animal charity wants to see tighter controls on the trade.
The very real possibility that live animal exports could resume from the Port of Dover has brought protests from animal rights supporters - and fury from the RSPCA.
This afternoon, berthing trials took place in the Eastern Docks in preparation for what many farmers hope will be a renewal of the trade between Britain and continental Europe. Tom Savvides reports.
Protesters have gathered at Dover in Kent, as the French ship 'Joline' arrives for berthing trials. The vessel's crew are testing the feasibility of returning the live animal exports trade to the port.
The ship 'Joline' has arrived at the Port of Dover to take part in berthing trials amid plans to return animal exports to the town.
Campaigners against animal exports are due to gather at Dover docks to protest against the trade. The ship, the Joline, is expected to arrive there to take part in berthing trials ahead of plans to resume animal exports from Dover.
There was earlier controversy when the ship was involved in animal exports to the continent from Ramsgate.
Thanet Council is being sued by live animal exporters for loss of earnings during last year's ban on using Ramsgate port.
The ban was put in place after more than 40 sheep had to be put down. But the suspension was overturned following a High Court ruling which sparked a series of protests.
The case is due to be heard in another division of the High Court with three Dutch companies pursuing claims against the Council.
Up to 2,000 lambs have been exported through the Port of Ramsgate.
RSPCA inspectors reviewed five shipments which went through the port and asked for some of the animals to receive veterinary treatment.
Live exports to resume at the Port of Ramsgate on Friday at 7am, it's just been announced.
A High Court injunction has been served on Thanet District Council overturning its decision to suspend live animal exports through the port.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “The appalling incidents of 12th September were a very clear and practical indication to the council that the Port of Ramsgate is not an appropriate place to carry out the export of live animals.
“The council is very clear in our view of this trade. However, if despite our strongest possible efforts to ensure the welfare of animals moving through the Port of Ramsgate, the High Court still determines that the Port must re-open to this trade, then our hands are absolutely tied."