Neuralink is reportedly under federal investigation for animal testing

Neuralink is reportedly being investigated by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General for possible animal welfare violations related to investigative testing. According to ReutersInternal documents show that staff members have been raising concerns that the company has rushed into animal testing and caused unnecessary suffering and death.

The news organization said the company has killed 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, since 2018. Those numbers don’t automatically mean Neuralink is breaking the law, and the company has passed all USDA inspections in your instalations. Former and current employees said ReutersHowever, that pressure from Neuralink founder Elon Musk to speed up development has led to flawed experiments and thus higher mortality rates than they should be.

Musk has reportedly been telling employees since the company launched in 2016 to imagine they had a bomb strapped to their heads in an effort to make them move faster. He also reportedly told staff that it would cause “market failure” unless they made progress, which some employees took as a warning that he would shut down the company. Earlier this year, Musk also emailed staff members an article about Swiss researchers who created an implant that helped a paralyzed person walk again. Reuters said. “Overall, we’re just not moving fast enough. It’s driving me crazy!” she allegedly wrote herself in a follow-up email.

When reviewing internal test documentation, Reuters He said he found four experiments involving 86 pigs and two monkeys with questionable results due to human error. Neuralink had to repeat those experiments, which led to more deaths. One message written by an angry employee talked about how rushed animal surgeries had led to underprepared and stressed employees who ended up making mistakes. a couple of examples Reuters found in the documents detail how Neuralink staff implanted the company’s brain-machine interface device into the wrong vertebrae of two different pigs, something that could have been easily prevented by counting the animals’ vertebrae, forcing the team to to kill them to end their suffering. .

Earlier this year, the animal rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine accused the company of botching surgeries that killed the monkeys. Neuralink admitted that it had killed six monkeys in its joint study with the University of California, Davis, due to problems caused by their experiments. However, they defended their investigation and said that he did not break any laws.

Neuralink recently held an event announcing that it could begin human trials within the next six months. During the show, company founder Elon Musk responded directly to the Physicians Committee’s accusations: “Before we even think about putting a device in an animal, we do our best with rigorous laboratory testing. We’re not arrogant about We are extremely careful about putting these devices in animals and we always want the device, every time we do the implant, whether it’s in a sheep, pig or monkey, to be confirmatory, not exploratory,” he said.

ReutersHowever, he said he found Neuralink records with numerous references to “exploratory surgeries.” Autumn Sorrells, director of Neuralink’s animal care program, also ordered employees in October to remove “scanning” from their study titles and to stop using the term in the future.

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