Wu Mei-mei could not help weeping at the thought that she would lose her two pet chickens next Monday when the government's ban on backyard poultry takes effect. 'Ah Gai [the cock] and Gai Lui [the hen] have been with me for years. They are safe. Why should they be killed?' said a tearful Ms Wu, who runs a scrap recycling business. She was speaking to the media at the 1,000 sq ft recycling station she rents in Aberdeen Praya Road yesterday. The Anti-Bird Flu Action Alliance, which organised the media briefing, said pet lovers should be shown some sympathy. 'We hope the government does not to take action against households that raise pets. There should be exemptions,' said Shek Kwok-keung, spokesman for the alliance and a Southern District councillor. Ms Wu said the two chickens were good pets. 'Whenever I tell them of my unhappiness, they reply with a 'coo-coo' as if offering some comfort,' she said. 'They eat what we eat and are never any trouble. And I give them a bath weekly and they are vaccinated regularly,' she said, 'I just wish them a natural death, not a sudden and unacceptable ending.' Ms Wu said passers-by even made friends with the chickens. Mr Shek said the organisation would ask the government to release risk indicators - such as the number of dead birds and the percentage of birds infected with H5N1 - on a daily basis as this would give the public a better understanding about the situation. An employee of the nearby Wai King Mansion's property management company said he had not heard of any complaints from residents about the chickens. An elderly passer-by said: 'I'm always glad to see the two chickens here. 'But I never played with them, because they are not mine. I think they are safe. I have no worries at all.'