A temporary suspension of live animal exports from the Port of Ramsgate has been overturned by the High Court.
Thanet District Council ordered the suspension when 45 sheep died on 12 September, however three Dutch companies appealed.
The council, which is expected to launch its own appeal, will have to re-open the port to exports immediately.
Council leader Clive Hart said Ramsgate was not an appropriate place to carry out the export of live animals.
"This is something we had been explaining to government agencies consistently for many months previously," he said.
"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.
"We now need to meet with our lawyers to plan how best to progress our case."
Last September 43 sheep found in a lorry stopped at the port had to be destroyed.
One had a broken leg, another was so sick it had to be put down, 41 were severely lame and none of the animals could reach their drinkers in the vehicle, the RSPCA said.
In a separate incident, a loading area floor collapsed while sheep were taken off a lorry.
Six fell in the water and four were rescued by RSPCA officers, but two drowned.