WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Neuralink, Elon Musk’s neurotechnology company is under federal investigation over animal welfare abuse.
- According to reports, around 1,500 animals were killed in experiments since 2018.
- Neuralink employees told Reuters that Musk’s pressure-cooker work environment pushed them to commit careless errors.
Elon Musk’s company Neuralink is under investigation by federal agencies into alleged animal welfare violations, according to Reuters.
Musk helped cofound Neuralink, a neurotechnology company developing brain implants that could one day help paralyzed people walk again and help with other neurological issues.
While many companies tests on animals before humans to bring new products to the market, Neuralink employees told Reuters that the company had made several reckless errors involving incorrect surgical glue or the wrong-size brain chip, which caused scientists to have to kill those animals and start experiments over again. Reuters could not determine whether the federal probe involved the same alleged issues with animal testing that it found by talking to employees.
Multiple workers reportedly said Musk told them to imagine a bomb was strapped to their heads to get them to move quicker.
“We are simply not moving fast enough. It is driving me nuts,” he reportedly wrote to staffers earlier this year.
Representatives from Neuralink and the US Department of Agriculture did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Neuralink has passed all USDA inspections of its facilities, Reuters reports.
Neuralink was founded by Musk and a group of scientists and engineers in 2016 to develop brain chips that would allow computers to read brain signals. Last week, Musk announced that it plans to begin human clinical trials next year and said he would try the brain chip device himself.
Despite the pressure many employees reportedly have felt working at Neuralink, Musk had reportedly told at least one former employee that he disliked using animals for research and said he wanted them to be “the happiest animals” while alive.
Neuralink has faced allegations of animal abuse in the past. Earlier this year, an animal-rights group accused the company’s researchers of subjecting monkeys to “extreme suffering” while testing brain implants.
In one example of incidents the group provided, a monkey was allegedly missing fingers and toes “possibly from self-mutilation” after an experiment.
Source: Yahoo Finance