Elon Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink is defending itself against allegations that its researchers misused monkeys in testing its products.
Neuralink – which hopes to create a revolutionary interface that allows humans to control devices with their brains – He said in a statement On Monday, her research animals were “respected and honored by our team”. The company was responding to allegations that animals had been tortured and left to die in horrific experiments in its facilities.
In a lengthy complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) said the research caused “extreme suffering” in test subjects, whose “brains were mutilated in shoddy experiments and left to suffer and die.” PCRM is a non-profit organization that promotes a plant-based diet and alternatives to animal testing.
The complaint targets a partnership between Neuralink and the University of California, Davis that ran between 2017 and 2020, in which researchers implanted a device “about the size of a quarter” into the skull of a macaque monkey.
PCRM has obtained hundreds of pages of health records, autopsy reports, and other documents related to the $1.4 million partnership through California’s open records laws. She added that the documents reveal that the monkeys suffered from “severe psychological stress” as a result of “primitive surgeries”.
In the complaint, PCRM said Neuralink used a substance known as “BioGlue” that destroyed parts of the monkeys’ brains. She described animals that showed significant psychological effects from the experiments, including anxiety, vomiting, poor appetite, hair loss, and self-mutilation behavior including removing their fingers.
Neuralink called the data in the complaint “misleading,” saying in a blog It “has done and continues to meet federally imposed standards.” After the UC Davis partnership ended, Neuralink moved its business to an in-house facility.
She responded directly to claims that more than a dozen monkeys died after Neuralink’s procedures, noting that some of these were “final procedures” – where test subjects are killed “humanely” after surgery.
Musk previously stated that Neuralink’s brain chip technology could have major implications for people with disabilities, as tweeting “would allow a paralyzed person to tweet faster than someone using their thumb on a smartphone,” for example.
Neuralink in 2021 published Video of a monkey who appears to be controlling a computer with his mind. The release sparked controversy, with many noting that these videos are typically published in scientific journals and subject to peer review, allowing for greater oversight and accountability.
In its complaint, PCRM said that Neuralink violated Animal Welfare Act regulations and requested that both UC Davis and Neuralink be awarded “the maximum civil penalty available for each violation.” The USDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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