Livestock exports have resumed without incident from Ramsgate, says the RSPCA.

The animal welfare charity, which opposes the live export trade, said it was “pleased” its officers inspected sheep due to depart from the Kent port on Monday (10 March).

See also: £19k fine in Ramsgate sheep death trial

The trade switched to Ramsgate after more than eight months during which RSPCA inspectors were refused entry to inspect sheep exported from Dover to the Continent.

A shipment of sheep left Ramsgate at about 10am, destined for the Continent.

RSPCA officers said they attended the port at the invitation of the Harbour Master and Thanet District Council (TDC).

They reported that a DEFRA vet carried out an inspection of the first four-tier lorry but the second three-tier lorry was not inspected.

“This is the first time in over a year that the RSPCA have been allowed to check on the welfare of animals destined for live export,” said David Bowles, RSPCA head of public affairs.

“We have been blocked from checking on the welfare of animals at Dover.

“We continue to have concerns on the inspection regime undertaken by government veterinarians and believe our presence adds another layer of enforcement which is sorely needed in this trade.”

While the shipment passed without incident, Mr Bowles said the RSPCA continue to be concerned that Ramsgate was once again to be used to ship live animals.

“There are no emergency facilities at the port should the animals need to be unloaded and the sailing is longer than from Dover,” he said.

Thanet District Council suspended livestock exports from Ramsgate after an incident in September 2012 saw more than 40 others slaughtered.

Some of the animals suffered their injuries on the short journey to Ramsgate, despite all animals being loaded under the supervision of government veterinarians.

The director of animal export company Channel Livestock was sentenced last month for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Last week, Thanet council was told it would have to compensate the transporters for loss of earnings during the suspension.