Musk's Neuralink Under Probe Over Bungled Animal Tests
Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a medical device company, is under investigation for animal-welfare violations amid staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths, documents reviewed by Reuters showed, Rachael Levy reported.
Photo Insert: In all, the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys, following experiments since 2018.
Neuralink Corp is developing a brain implant it hopes will help paralyzed people walk again and cure other neurological ailments.
The federal probe was opened by the US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General at the request of a federal prosecutor, two sources with knowledge of the investigation said.
The probe, one of the sources said, focuses on violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which governs how researchers treat and test some animals.
The investigation has come at a time of growing employee dissent about Neuralink’s animal testing, including complaints that pressure from CEO Musk to accelerate development has resulted in botched experiments, dozens of Neuralink documents and interviews with more than 20 current and former employees affirmed.
Such failed tests have had to be repeated, increasing the number of animals being tested and killed, the employees say.
The company documents include previously unreported messages, audio recordings, emails, presentations, and reports. Musk and other Neuralink executives did not respond to requests for comment.
In all, the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys, following experiments since 2018, according to records reviewed by Reuters and sources with direct knowledge of the company’s animal-testing operations.
The sources characterized that figure as a rough estimate because the company does not keep precise records on the number of animals tested and killed. Neuralink has also conducted research using rats and mice.