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Elon Musk’s Neuralink allegedly subjected monkeys to ‘extreme suffering’

by Krishlee
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Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain chip company, is being challenged by an animal rights group. They claim that the company has subjected monkeys to “extreme pain” over years of horrendous experiments.

According to Thursday’s complaint filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine with the US Department of Agriculture, Neuralink’s brain chips were placed in the brains of monkeys during tests at the University of California Davis. The brain chips, which Musk claims will one day make people hyper-intelligent, and allow paralyzed people to walk again.

One example is that a monkey was allegedly missing its fingers and toes after “possibly self-mutilation” or another unspecified trauma. The group shared a copy with The Post.

Another case involved a monkey who had electrodes and holes in its skull. The monkey then developed a bloody skin infection and was forced to be put to death.

A third case involved a female macaque monkey who had electrodes placed into her brain. The animal was then overcome by vomiting, retching, and gasping. Researchers found out that the animal had collapsed from exhaustion/fatigue days later. They were then euthanized. According to the report, an autopsy revealed that the monkey had suffered from a brain hemorrhage.

According to the complaint, the experiments involved drilling holes into monkey brains. This led to fatal infections as well as other dangerous side effects. According to an animal rights group, Elon Musk’s Neuralink performed gruesome tests of monkeys for many years.

 

There were 23 monkeys involved in the experiments. According to the group, at least 15 of the 23 monkeys died or were killed by 2020. This is based on records that California’s open records law allowed.

According to The Post’s research advocacy director, Jeremy Beckham of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Pretty much all the monkeys that had implants in their heads suffered from pretty debilitating effects.” They were actually killing and maiming the animals.

This disturbing report comes as Neuralink prepares to start its first human trials. Musk stated in December that he would like to begin human trials with the devices by 2022. In January, the company published a job posting for a director of clinical trials.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is the group that authored the report. They advocate for veganism as well as alternatives to animal testing. These positions have sometimes put them at odds with American Medical Association. The group has previously been funded by controversial animal rights group PETA, The Guardian reported.

Elon Musk plans to begin human testing of Neuralink brain chips this year.

Beckham stated that while the group does not currently have “any relationship” with PETA, it sometimes works on issues that overlap.

Neuralink and UC Davis are being accused of nine violations by the federal Animal Welfare Act, a federal law that is meant to reduce suffering in animal experiments.

The group complained to the USDA that “many, if certainly all, of these monkeys suffered extreme suffering due to inadequate animal care and highly invasive experimental heads implants during the experiments which were performed in pursuit for developing what Neuralink or Elon Musk have publicly called a ‘brain-machine interface’.”

“These highly invasive implants and the associated hardware are inserted into the brains of animals after drilling holes in their skulls. This has caused recurring infections in the animals which have severely impacted their health as well as the integrity the research.”

In an effort to get more information, photos, and videos about the monkeys released under California’s public records laws, the group is also suing UC Davis.

These alleged abuses are in sharp contrast to the publicly available materials from Neuralink. The company posted a video on YouTube last April that showed a happy, healthy-seeming monkey playing Pong with its brain.

According to a spokesperson for UC Davis, the university had ended its collaboration with Neuralink in 2020 and that the institution’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee had “thoroughly inspected and approved” its project.

Elon Musk claims that Neuralink will eventually cure paralysis and make people smarter.

The spokesperson stated that they strive to give the best care possible to the animals under our control. “Animal research in the United States is strictly regulated. UC Davis adheres to all applicable laws and regulations, including those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Neuralink did not immediately respond to a request from The Post for comment.

 

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