Elon Musk’s brain-chip company Neuralink face allegations of animal abuse for using monkeys in test
Neuralink, the tech billionaire Elon Musk‘s brain chip company is reportedly facing a legal challenge from an animal rights group that has accused the company of subjecting monkeys to “extreme suffering” during years of gruesome experiments.
Neuralink was founded in 2016 with the goal of helping people recover from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, curing depression and other mental health disorders, and connecting humans to the internet for everything from music streaming to near-telepathic communication.
The organization is accusing Neuralink and UC Davis of nine violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act — a federal measure designed to reduce suffering during animal experiments, reports The New York Post.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) alleges that between 2017 and 2020, test monkeys owned by Neuralink were subject to experiments that amounted to torture, with evidence of rashes, self-mutilation, and brain hemorrhages in documentation seen by the group.
Neuralink’s brain chips were implanted in monkeys’ brains during a series of tests at the University of California, Davis from 2017 to 2020, according to a complaint from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed with the US Department of Agriculture.
The experiments involved 23 monkeys in all. At least 15 of them died or were euthanized by 2020, according to the group, which based the report on records released through California’s open records law.
In one example, a monkey was allegedly found missing some of its fingers and toes “possibly from self-mutilation or some other unspecified trauma”. The monkey was later killed during a “terminal procedure,” the group said in a copy of the complaint shared with The Post.
In another case, a monkey had holes drilled in its skull and electrodes implanted into its brain, then allegedly developed a bloody skin infection and had to be euthanized, according to the complaint.
Days later, researchers wrote that the animal “appeared to collapse from exhaustion/ fatigue” and was subsequently euthanized. An autopsy then showed the monkey had suffered from a brain hemorrhage, according to the report.
Musk claims that Neuralink’s brain chips will one day make humans hyper-intelligent and let paralyzed people walk again.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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