Billionaire Elon Musk’s medical device company Neuralink is facing a federal investigation into allegations of potential animal rights violations amid employee complaints that the company has rushed animal experiments resulting in the needless deaths of many. according to documents seen by Reuters and sources. operations.
Neuralink is developing a brain implant it hopes will help paralyzed people walk again, as well as treat other neurological diseases.
Two sources familiar with the matter said the Department of Agriculture’s inspector general launched the federal investigation, which has not previously been reported, in recent months at the request of a federal prosecutor.
One of the sources said the investigation focused on violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the way in which researchers treat and experiment with animals.
Neuralink employee opposition to animal testing
The investigation has come in a time of growing opposition from Neuralink employees to his own test on animals, including complaints that CEO Musk’s pressure to speed up research had led to failed experiments, according to a Reuters review of dozens of company documents and interviews with more than 20 currently and in precedence.
Staff say failed experiments have led to their repetition, increasing the number of animals tested and subsequently killed. Company records include previously undisclosed letters, audio recordings, emails, presentations and reports.
Musk and other Neuralink executives did not respond to requests for comment.
A USDA Inspector General spokesman declined to comment.
US regulations do not limit the number of animals companies can use for research, leaving scientists free to decide when and how to use animals in experiments.
Neuralink has passed all USDA inspections of its facilities as evidenced by its regulatory disclosures.
In all, the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, in experiments since 2018, according to documents reviewed by Reuters and sources with direct knowledge of the company’s animal experiments.
Sources described this figure as a rough estimate because the company doesn’t keep accurate records of how many animals it experiments before killing them. Neuralink also tested mice.
Many companies routinely use animals in experiments to advance human healthcare and are facing financial pressure to get products to market quickly. The animals are usually killed when the experiments are completed and are often autopsied as well post-killing for research purposes.
Musk has caused quite a stir following his decision to buy Twitter in a whopping $44 billion deal, as he reversed the decision and entered in a legal battle with the giant gods social media before going ahead with the deal, firing many of its employees and imposing blue checkmark taxes to raise concerns about the company’s future.
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