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Currently, Vancouver residents can raise chickens in their backyards if they own a minimum one-acre property. ((CBC))

Some members of the Chinese community are upset that Vancouver residents may soon be able to build chicken coops in residential backyards.

News that Vancouver city councillors voted unanimously last week to direct staff to study the issue and draft a bylaw amendment caused an uproar in the Chinese community, with many citizens calling local radio stations to voice their protests.

"People were concerned about hygiene, the noise and the smell," said Wallace Chan, a host for Fairchild Radio.

Social commentator K.K. Wan believes the dissent comes from Chinese Vancouverites' belief that the city should be dealing with more important issues.

"We wish city hall could focus more attention to those bread-and-butter issues," he said.

In Hong Kong, health officials have been trying to phase out the sale of live chickens in the city centre because of fears of avian influenza outbreaks.

Avian flu was detected on a commercial turkey farm in the Fraser Valley as recently as the end of January.

City staff will take a few months to look at issues such as the prospect of an avian flu outbreak, noise complaints and a possible rise in predators before presenting the draft amendment to the council for a vote.

If the bylaw is approved, residents can start raising chickens as soon as June.