ONLY four out of 1,300 livestock farmers have applied for licences under the controversial waste disposal scheme - the rest say they will go to court rather than comply with the new law. Resisting the licensing scheme would expose the farmers to fines of up to $100,000 or put them out of business for good, but farming representatives say they will not back down. The chairman of the Hong Kong Livestock Industry Association, So Ying-kiu, said he and other members would defy the new livestock licensing law, which requires livestock farmers to install waste discharge systems. ''I would prefer to be sued than install the waste discharge system,'' Mr So said. He complained that the Planning, Environment and Lands Branch had not given farmers any technical support to implement the scheme, and provided only a minimal subsidy as an incentive to install an expensive discharge system. Mr So estimated that for his farm of 500 pigs it would cost $500,000 to install the waste discharge system. He said the government subsidy covered only a quarter of that cost. Fellow pig farmer Lam Pak-nim agreed with Mr So, and said he would not apply for a licence under the system and very few farmers he knew would either. ''I will not apply for licensing . . . I will wait for the penalty or they can put me in jail,'' Mr Lam said. The law came into effect on July 1 under a move that meant the Government would begin licensing in phases all keepers of livestock in areas subject to the waste control plan. It was passed despite vehement protests by farmers outside the Legislative Council building in April. Dozens of chickens were released by farmers into the streets as legislators gathered to debate the Waste Disposal (Amendment) Bill. Agriculture and Fisheries Department information officer Denny Mok confirmed that only four livestock farmers had applied for licences but the closure date for applications in phase one was December 31. ''I think the farmers are waiting for the last moment. Our office has received many inquiries on how to apply for licences,'' Mr Mok said. Phase one of the licensing scheme will cover Tsuen Wan, Tuen Mun, Tai Lam Chung and along the Ng Tung and Shenzhen rivers. It is estimated that more than 1,000 tonnes of untreated livestock waste is dumped in rivers and streams throughout the territory every day. The pollution generated is believed to be the equivalent of waste discharge from one million people. Those operating without a licence after next year face fines of between $50,000 and $100,000. In addition to the installation costs for each waste discharge system, a fee is payable on each licence ranging from $750 to $4,500, depending on the size of the farm and the numbers of livestock kept.