Earlier last month, one of the most well-known discussion shows in the US covered the topic of fish rights.
The Daily Show‘s presenter Trevor Noah invited animal rights advocate Ryuji Chua, commonly known as Peace By Vegan, to discuss his film How Conscious Can A Fish Be?
By examining the evidence that fish are “aware beings,” Chua’s documentary dispels the myth that they are dumb creatures.
In a video that was posted to YouTube, Noah called the conversation over fish awareness “really interesting.”
“This documentary, in particular, is one where some people are shocked. They say ‘Ryuiji, you’ve gone too far.’” he said.
“You’re saying that fish can be conscious?”
The audience laughed in response to this query, and Ryuji then said, “Growing up, I didn’t think this. Like many people, I grew up thinking that fish were these stupid, unconscious animals that have a three-second memory and can’t feel pain.”
“That would have been fine, forgivable, if I was in like 1703. But 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.”
Chua responded to Noah’s inquiry regarding the morality of consuming wild-caught fish by saying: “Fishing causes tremendous suffering to an immeasurable number of fish. And that’s the issue to me. And for me, an issue is an issue when there is someone who suffers.”
“I’m not going to sit here and say I emotionally feel compelled to care about fish in the same way as I do dogs… I didn’t grow up around fish. I grew up around dogs,” Chua continued.
“Because they suffer, and their suffering matters to them, that’s why I flag it as an issue,” he added.
Do fish feel pain?
Chua noted that historically, people tended to think of fish as unconscious, stupid creatures. However, many of our beliefs about fish have been refuted by professionals.
Biologist Victoria Braithwaite wrote in her book Do Fish Feel Pain? that “there is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals.”
Fish’s nervous systems produce endorphins that alleviate pain. This has been interpreted as additional evidence that they are able to experience pain.
There have been numerous studies on fish that seem to show that they can experience pain. A rainbow trout stopped eating after having a painful acid injection into their delicate lips. They also moved back and forth on the tank bottom and rubbed their lips against the walls.
True three-second memory in fish?
Furthermore, it has long been believed that fish have a three-second memory, a claim that has been refuted by authorities in the area.
“We’ve known about the reasonably good memories of goldfish since the ’50s and ’60s… Despite what everybody thinks, they’re actually really intelligent,” stated Culum Brown, a fish cognition expert from Macquarie University in Australia.
Given how frequently they are kept as pets in little tanks, he thinks guilt is one one the causes of the three-second memory fallacy.
You can watch How Conscious Can A Fish Be? right now on Peace By Vegan.
Source: “Trevor Noah Invites Vegan Activist On ‘The Daily Show’ To Discuss Fish Suffering” by Plant Based News
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