FIGHTING erupted outside the Legislative Council yesterday as livestock farmers protested against new regulations on the dumping of untreated animal waste. A plan to unload 25 trucks containing pigs, cattle and poultry was called off in the face of a strong police presence. However, a dozen chickens and a duck were released by the demonstrators in Chater Road, bringing traffic chaos to Central. Chicken excrement was hurled during the confrontation as officers called in reinforcements and set up a special riot command and control centre at police headquarters. At one stage, representatives of the Heung Yee Kuk arrived to lend their support to the farmers. The protest began shortly after 2 pm as legislators gathered to debate the Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill 1993 and the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Amendment) Bill 1993. Both amendments were passed in a voice vote. About 50 farmers, many wearing identical yellow football shirts or white T-shirts, greeted legislators with chanting and shouts, claiming they would be bankrupted by the new restrictions. Minutes later the relatively peaceful demonstration turned to violence as a van arrived and its driver began throwing live poultry on to the road. As officers tried to catch the startled birds, the farmers began pushing and shoving and throwing chicken dung. In the ensuing chaos, one farmer collapsed, claiming he had been punched in the head by a policeman. One officer was struck by a waste bin thrown by a farmer. Traffic in Chater Road was brought to a standstill and police were called in to set up temporary diversions. Another flashpoint occurred minutes later as police tried to tow the van away. Farmers clung to the vehicle, kicking out as officers tried to pull them away. At one stage, a farmer jumped into the cab of the tow truck and threw the keys away. They were recovered by a constable. After half an hour of uproar with tempers frayed further by the heat and humidity, the farmers agreed to remove the van if no arrests were made. It was eventually driven off with a police motorcycle escort. The Divisional Commander of Waterfront Police, David Madoc-Jones, called in four teams from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department with back-up vehicles and animal-catching equipment to be on standby in case more animals were released. Police checkpoints were set up at the harbour tunnels and around Central to stop vehicles carrying livestock from approaching. At the height of the conflict about 60 officers were involved, with at least two stationed at every entrance to Legco. Members of the Police Tactical Unit were also called in and a police camera unit took film. Calm was restored by 3 pm as the farmers settled down to listen to the debate, broadcast on speakers outside. When the bills were passed at about 7 pm, the protesters left peacefully but vowed to return next week with new tactics. They declined to provide further details. Extra barricades had been installed around Legco to cope with the planned demonstration. Lessons had also been learnt from 1987 when farmers protesting on the same issue besieged the council chamber, trapping the then Governor, Sir (now Lord) David Wilson, inside for three hours and pelting his car with pig manure. Mr Madoc-Jones said no arrests were made during the demonstration in an attempt to keep matters as calm as possible. However, he declined to rule out charges being brought after files had been prepared for the Attorney-General's office to consider. ''An investigation will take place and if we can identify the individuals responsible, then consideration may well be given to prosecution. There is a whole barrage of possible offences. ''There are a number of things we have to consider. ''Throwing animal faeces is an offence for a start. There is also obstruction to consider, but I am too wise a policeman to say what offences have been committed until the Attorney-General's office has studied the papers.'' Mr Madoc-Jones said he would also consider whether the protest was held illegally. ''It was an unlicensed demonstration and technically any demonstration involving more than 30 people should be licensed. However, there are areas of confusion between the Bill of Rights and the Public Order Ordinance,'' he said. ''It shows a disregard for the general population of Hong Kong, throwing chickens around Central.'' When asked if the producers of animal feed had an interest in the protest, one farmer said: ''It would not be so amazing. They are part of our group.''