Activists failed to prevent live animals being exported through Ipswich docks last night.
Campaigners - including some who fought the Battle of Brightlingsea over veal calf exports 12 years ago - staged a demonstration in a bid to prevent live cattle being shipped abroad.
But they were unable to prevent the operation going ahead.
Val Oliver, 66, of Colchester, said: "It was terrible. It was such an awful sight - I don't think people can sink any lower than be involved with that trade.
"Seeing the animals on the transporters was heartbreaking. People were crying and you could hear the little calves crying in the lorries."
Livestock is being exported through Ipswich to Europe for two weeks while Dover is closed for repairs.