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Elon Musk’s Neuralink accused of abusing monkeys in animal testing experiments

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Neuralink accused of abusing monkeys in animal testing experiments

Although denied by Neuralink, the company has been accused of cruelty to macaque monkeys in their experiments to develop technology which allows the mind to control computers. Towards this objective, they were testing technology which allowed the monkeys to play video games with their minds.

Neuralink accused of abusing monkeys in animal testing experiments

Neuralink accused of abusing monkeys in animal testing experiments. The monkeys used for the research had a wireless chip implant in their brains. Image: The Times.

It is defending itself against accusations of cruelty against the macaque monkeys after 15/23 of them are said to have died or been euthanised. Musk started the business in 2017. The start-up insists that they work with animals in the “most humane and ethical way possible”.

On this blog it states: “Our central mission is to design an animal care programme prioritising the needs of the animals, rather than the typical strategy of building for human convenience alone”.

However, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an organisation advocating against animal testing, has filed a legal complaint against California University where the animal experiments are taking place. They claim that the experiments violate the Animal Welfare Act and that they are invasive and deadly brain experiments.

In 2017 Neuralink worked with California National Primate Research Centre and Davies where the animals were housed and the experiments took place. They released a video in April 2021 showing a monkey playing basic video games using their thoughts with a wireless chip on the animal’s brain.

The complaint states that 15 of the 23 monkeys and initial experiments had died or been euthanised by 2020. They allege that the monkeys were “caged alone, had steel posts screw to their skulls, suffered facial trauma, seizures following brain implants and recurring infections”.

In defence, UC Davis said that it had “thoroughly reviewed and approved” the protocols of their research for Neuralink.

They also said that animal research is strictly regulated and that UC Davis follows the regulations and laws.

Also in defence, Neuralink said that two of the monkeys were euthanised “at planned end dates to gather important histological data”. A further six were euthanised on the medical advice of the veterinarians at UC Davis. They say that the research centre is staffed with people who are passionate about animal well-being.

Separately, Elon Musk donated almost $6 billion worth of Tesla shares to charity last year. This makes him America’s biggest philanthropist after Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates.

He gave a total of just over 5 million shares to unnamed charities over a 10-day period in November 2021. This is according to a filing with America’s financial regulator. We don’t know the names of the charities. He has stated that if the UN World Food Programme could explain how US$6 billion could solve the world hunger problem, he would give the money away right away.