Vegan activist Ryuji Chua invited on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show to raise awareness around animal suffering

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  25th August 2022

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Ryuji Chua said there's 'a mountain of evidence... that suggests that fish feel, think, and suffer, like dogs, cats, and other animals'


A vegan activist has reached an audience of millions after being invited onto a US talk show to discuss how fish are more conscious than we think.

Ryuji Chua, who created the animal rights documentary How Conscious Can A Fish Be?, appeared on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show earlier this month.

During the segment, host Trevor, who described Ryuji as a ‘passionate animal rights activist’, noted that some people have accused the advocate of ‘going too far’ in ascribing consciousness to fish.

The activist responded: “Like many people, I grew up to think that fish were these stupid, unconscious animals who have a three-second memory and can’t feel pain.

“And they would have been fine forgivable if I was like in 1703. But the thing is that today, there is a mountain of evidence produced through years of research that suggests that fish feel think and suffer like dogs, cats and other animals.”


Ryuji Chua on the suffering of fish

Speaking about how fish suffer when they are caught and eaten, Ryuji said: “Fishing causes tremendous suffering to an immeasurable number of fish. And that’s the issue to me…they suffer and their suffering matters to them.”

He also tackled what suffering might mean to fish, how that may compare to human suffering and whether that even matters.

“At the end of the day, how complicated that suffering is, I don’t think is that relevant to whether or not we should care about that suffering,” he said.

Talking about when fish are caught, Ryuji said: “When they’re being grabbed out of the ocean in huge nets, they die in horrific ways. They’re being crushed under the weight of other fish…oftentimes, they’re put in a mixture of ice and water and they’re suffocating the whole time.

“And that experience might not be so different to the experience of humans drowning. In a way, it’s a very primal form of suffering.”

Taking to Instagram to discuss his appearance, the activist wrote: “I’m so grateful to have been invited yesterday on @thedailyshow with @trevornoah to talk about my documentary and animal rights!

“I personally love Trevor and the show because I think they’re so incredibly good at breaking down important topics in an approachable and entertaining way so it was truly an honour to be their guest.”

A number of organisations and advocates responded to the post, with animal rights charity PETA writing: “So excited to see you have such an important and eloquent discussion about animals on @thedailyshow! Countless folks are now thinking twice about the individuals on their plates and the ways their choices can save them.”

Joey Carbstrong added: “Great work bro! wow, what a big audience.”

Other respondents included Lucy Watson, Earthling Ed, Badass Vegan, and Preacher Lawson.

Want to share the plant-based message yourself? Read our article on how to turn your colleagues vegan.

Feature image credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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