USA has opened a federal investigation into a possible case of abused animals against Neuralinkthe neurotechnology company with which Elon Musk pretend to develop brain implants. Several employees have denounced that animal tests and their deaths are accelerating, which has led authorities to study whether the company has violated the Animal Welfare Law, according to Reuters.
The agency, which has had access to internal documents, has indicated that the Inspector General of the US Department of Agriculture opened the investigation «a few months ago» at the request of an attorney general. Internal complaints raise fears that Neuralink has caused necessary suffering to many of the animals it tests. Since 2018, the company has killed some 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, according to data reviewed by Reuters and internal sources consulted.
US law allows the use of animals for the experimentation of drugs and gives companies a free hand on when and how to use these animals for their research purposes. Neuralink has passed all inspections of its facilities by the US Department of Agriculture, according to regulatory documents.
Neuralink is a company founded in 2016 by the richest man in the world with the intention of manufacturing potato chips that can be implanted in brains humans to try to cure patients suffering from disabilities caused by neurological disorders. Currently, the company has in hand a implant that can be connected to the spinal cord to allow paralyzed patients to regain mobility and another eye implant to allow blind patients to regain vision.
Experiment on humans?
Last week, Musk said that within six months they would begin testing the wireless brain chips with humans, a promise that may have more of a marketing ploy to attract attention and attract investors than reality. Last year, a monkey appeared that, after implanting a device in his brain, was able to play a video game with his mind.
Animal rights groups have for years accused Neuralink of mistreating laboratory animals, a claim the company has repeatedly denied. The US authorities will be in charge of determining whether Musk’s project has violated federal laws.