Elon Musk’s Neuralink allegedly killed 1,500 animals over four years and is now being sued for animal cruelty, Musk allegedly rushed the test, which led to serious mistakes

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company, is reportedly under federal investigation for potential violations of the US animal welfare law, the Animal Welfare Act. An investigative report documents and insider sources suggest that animal testing is done too quickly, causing animals to suffer unnecessarily and even causing death. The Animal Welfare Act, which governs the treatment and use of animals in scientific research and testing, is the main focus of this investigation.

Neuralink is a neurotechnology company that aims to create brain implants to treat disease and integrate new software capabilities into the human brain. Besides potentially treating brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, the brain device will also serve as a kind of “digital layer” that combines human gray matter with advanced technological tools. Neuralink has been testing its prototypes on animals for several years, including pigs, sheep and monkeys. But recent reports have accused the company of cruelty to these animals.

The company has been accused of causing unnecessary suffering and death to animals under pressure from its CEO Elon Musk. According to internal documents reviewed by investigators, so far around 1,500 animals – including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys – have died as a result of Neuralink tests since 2018. Neuralink has also conducted research in mice and rats. The death rate does not mean Neuralink is violating regulations or standard research practices, as many companies routinely use animals in experiments to advance human health care.

The federal investigation is said to have been triggered by complaints filed by Neuralink’s own employees. They believe that the hasty testing order from Musk resulted in bogus experiments and unnecessary animal deaths, in violation of the US Animal Welfare Act of 1966, known as the Animal Welfare Act. (MERCY). The Animal Welfare Act was passed to set rules for how animals used for research should be treated. The investigation is based on discussions within the company, interviews with employees and internal documents spanning several years.

The investigators identified four experiments involving 86 pigs and two monkeys that had been harmed over the years by human error. In 2021, 25 of 60 pigs participating in a study had the wrong size devices implanted in their heads, a mistake that could have been avoided with better preparation. One of the researchers reportedly warned that the error could be a red flag for study reviewers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the experiment was repeated with 36 sheep. All animals, both pigs and sheep, were killed after the procedures.

In another experiment, staff accidentally implanted the Neuralink device into the wrong vertebra of two different pigs in two separate surgeries. Then the company veterinarian allegedly advised his colleagues to immediately kill one of the pigs to end his suffering. All these errors were allegedly caused by a rushed schedule and ultimately undermined the research value of the experiments and required repeated testing, leading to more animals being killed, said the three of the members. current and former staff.

Two people familiar with the matter confirmed that the inspector general of the United States Department of Agriculture launched a previously undisclosed criminal investigation at the request of a federal prosecutor in recent months. The investigation comes as Musk announced earlier this month that he believes Neuralink will implant one of its devices into a human brain within the next six months. Musk previously said he was pushing for human trials to begin in 2020, a time he later pushed back to 2022 and then 2023. Musk is known for his controversial statements.

Because of research delays, Musk may have decided to push his employees to work harder to speed up Neuralink’s progress, which depends on animal testing. We can enable people to use their hands and walk in daily life again,” he wrote to staff at 6:37 am PT earlier this year. Ten minutes later, he added: we just don’t usually move fast. It drives me crazy! . Musk – who also runs Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX – is used to imposing a “hardcore work culture” on his employees.

For example, Musk was repeatedly heard telling employees to imagine they had a bomb strapped to their head, in an effort to get them to move forward faster. In the past, Neuralink has prided itself on the quality of treatment its animals receive, compared to other research facilities. Company executives have expressed their desire to build a “Monkey Disneyland” at the company’s facility in Austin, Texas, and Musk has told employees that he wants monkeys to live at his Bay Area facility in San Francisco in a “Taj Mahal of monkeys”.

Because the company does not keep accurate statistics on the number of animals tested and killed, investigators described the figure of 1,500 as a rough estimate. Also, this isn’t the first time Musk’s brain implant company has come under criticism over animal welfare. Following the partnership with the University of California Davis, an animal rights group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture accusing the Neuralink-UC Davis project of having experiments on bcl that killed the monkeys.

The group said surgeons used the wrong surgical glue twice, which led to two monkeys suffering and eventually dying, while other monkeys had various complications from the implants. At the time, the company said the deaths of the six monkeys were due to a problem with the glue, a “complication” of using an “FDA-approved product”. Neuralink currently uses sheep, pigs, mice, rats and monkeys for its testing and has not been granted permission to conduct human trials. Critics hope Musk won’t get that clearance anytime soon.

Source: Federal investigation opened by the inspector general of the United States Department of Agriculture

And you?

What is your opinion on the subject?

What do you think of the animal abuse charges brought against Neuralink?

Do you think Neuralink was allowed to test its brain implants on animals too soon?

What do you think of Musk’s claims that human testing could take place by 2023?

Do you think Musk is qualified to lead a company that makes medical devices?

See also

Musk’s Neuralink is under federal investigation for potential violations of animal welfare laws, and staff have complained about rushed animal testing

Elon Musk’s company Neuralink confirms monkeys died in brainchip testing project, but denies animal cruelty

Elon Musk’s Neuralink allegedly subjected monkeys it uses for brain implant experiments to ‘extreme suffering’, animal rights group says

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