Elon Musk’s Neuralink Reportedly Facing Federal Investigation For Alleged Animal Welfare Act Violations
Elon Musk and Neuralink are under federal investigation for alleged animal welfare violations following complaints from internal staff.
The CEO promised his company would provide microchip brain implants in six months. That is why Neuralink has been conducting tests on animals.
Unfortunately, employees say that Musk pressured them to accelerate development. As a result, tests have allegedly killed more animals than necessary.
More details about the Neuralink Animal Welfare Act violations
Reuters reviewed company records and found that it has killed nearly 1,500 animals since 2018. These include more than 280 monkeys, sheep, and pigs.
Neuralink also conducted tests on lab mice. Yet, the figures represent a rough estimate because the company does not keep exact records of the number of animal casualties from testing.
These deaths do not necessarily indicate that the company violates regulations or research standards.
Other companies routinely experiment with animals to advance human health care. They often face financial pressure to release products to market quickly.
Moreover, they usually kill animals once they finish experiments to conduct post-mortem research.
Current and former Neuralink staff say the number of deaths is higher than necessary due to Musk’s demands for quicker research.
Reuters identified four experiments with two monkeys and 86 pigs marred by human errors. As a result, the errors greatly reduced the validity of the results.
The company had to repeat the trials and kill more animals. Moreover, three employees blame the lack of preparation on Elon Musk’s pressure-cooker work culture.
They said the CEO told employees to imagine that they had bombs strapped to their heads so that they would work faster.
Also, he allegedly warned workers he would trigger a “market failure” at Neuralink unless they made more progress.
Some employees understood the comment as a threat to shut down operations. Moreover, they claimed that Musk required a rapid-fire approach to animal testing.
The traditional method involves researchers testing one element at a time in an animal study to gain insights before proceeding with more tests.
However, Elon Musk reportedly requires Neuralink to launch tests quickly before fixing prior issues or drawing complete analyses. As a result, the company had more animal casualties than needed.
The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating Neuralink’s alleged Animal Welfare Act violations.
It might have been rushing animal tests to meet Elon Musk’s promised product launch in six months. As a result, employees say the company has killed more animals than necessary.
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