The Department of Agriculture will investigate allegations that Neuralink, Elon Musk's company for developing neural interfaces, is torturing and mutilating monkeys.
Officials will investigate the "invasive, fatal monkey experiments funded by Elon Musk's Neuralink" after the animal advocacy group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed two Feb. 10 actions against the company and the University of California, Davis, for their treatment of monkeys in the design of neural interfaces.
"The avalanche of media coverage that these experiments have generated so far proves that the public has a significant interest in disclosure of information about what actually happened," PCRM Researcher Advocacy Coordinator Jeremy Beckham said in a press release.
ELON MUSK'S NEURALINK IS ABUSING MONKEYS, LAWSUIT SAYS
A spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Examiner that PCRM's complaint had been received but could not confirm the investigation.
PCRM sent one complaint to the USDA alleging the animals were being poorly treated and filed a lawsuit seeking additional photos and videos about the state of the 23 monkeys in Neuralink's charge. UC Davis has withheld photo and video evidence, hiding critical details about the fate of the monkeys in the process and prompting the animal advocacy group to take legal action, Beckham told the Washington Examiner.
The lawsuit is an amended version of an initial lawsuit filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in May of last year requesting the initial records, which the advocacy group did not receive until October.
The reports demonstrated monkeys were euthanized, caged alone, and subjected to steel posts being screwed to their skulls, among other abuses, PCRM alleged.
The university's research protocols were "thoroughly reviewed" and approved by the school's committee, a UC Davis spokesperson told the Washington Examiner, adding that the university "complied with the California Public Records Act in responding to their request" and that all information had been supplied.
"At Neuralink, we are absolutely committed to working with animals in the most humane and ethical way possible," the company said, noting that "the use of every animal was extensively planned and considered to balance scientific discovery with the ethical use of animals."
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The company also pointed out that "these accusations come from people who oppose any use of animals in research," but that "currently, all novel medical devices and treatments must be tested in animals before they can be ethically trialed in humans."
Neuralink has never received a citation from the Department of Agriculture before, and its facilities "exceed all requirements of the Animal Welfare Act," the statement added.