A group of sixth-formers were given a taste of rural life yesterday, mucking in at the Yuen Long cattle shelter. 'We thought we came here to have fun, to play with the cattle. We did not know we had to mow the lawn and feed them. We worked really hard,' said Chan Ching-yan, 18, one of nine visiting Form Six students from Methodist College. The students from the secondary school in Yau Ma Tei got up early and headed to the cattle rescue operation, now home to 55 beasts. 'The natural environment in Hong Kong is getting very rare. We want to get a feel of what it is like. We want to know how cattle live their lives,' student Chadwick Lau Cheuk-yin said. He said what impressed him most was the attitude of the shelter's staff. 'They value the life of every species, even the ants that most of us find annoying,' he said. 'When I wanted to kill an ant that climbed onto my hand, one of the staff asked me to let it go, to put it onto a leaf.' His classmate agreed and added: 'The staff talk to the cattle, the dogs, and asked them not to fight with each other like they are human beings. 'I am glad to take home with me a new meaning to life - that I should treasure all lives on earth.' Francesea Au Yeung Chui-yee, who runs the operation, was happy with the students' visit. But the shelter might soon be closed as the landlord wants the land back. 'I have written to him, asking him to allow me to stay until I find a new farm. I have already contacted the government. I hope that they can give me some land for the cattle.'