Animal Rights Group Accuses Elon Musk’s Neuralink of Mistreating Test Monkeys

by Samantha Whidden

Animal rights group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has reportedly accused Elon Musk’s Neuralink of mistreating test monkeys. 

According to the DailyMail, the animal rights group alleges that Elon Musk’s brain chip firm Neualink subjected its test monkeys to torture between 2017 and 2020. The evidence includes rashes, self-mutilation, and brain hemorrhages in the documentation. These experiments were notably in partnership with the University of California, Davis. A total of 23 monkeys were part of the experiment. Of the 23, 15 monkeys died or were euthanized as a result of complications. Or “inadequate animal care.”

UC Davis reportedly ended its partnership with Elon Musk’s Neualink in 2020. However, the University states that during the experiments it had thoroughly reviewed and approved research protocols. A spokesperson also told the media outlet, “UC Davis staff provided veterinary, including round-the-clock monitoring of experimental animals. [The University] reported any incidents to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Which mandated training and protocol changes as needed.”

Elon Musk’s Neuralink provided the 23 monkeys for the experiment. However, they were housed at the UC Davis primate study facility until 2020. The University notably received more than $1.4 million from Neualink to carry out the experiments between 2017 and 2020, the animal rights group states.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also shares more details about the type of experiments done on the monkeys. “Many, if not all, of the monkeys, experienced extreme suffering as a result of inadequate animal care and the highly invasive experimental head implants during the experiments. Which were performed in pursuit of developing what Neualink and Elon Musk have publicly described as a ‘brain-machine interface.’”

The group further explains that the invasive implants and associated hardware are insert into the brain after drilling holes in the animals’ skulls. “[The devices] have produced recurring infections in the animals. Significantly compromising their health. As well as the integrity of the research.”

The animal rights group also gave a number of examples of alleged failings. Which saw the monkeys suckering without good cause. This includes one of the monkeys allegedly missing fingers and toes that was more than likely a result of ‘self-mutilation’ or another form of trauma. The group then shares that another monkey had holes drilled into its skull and electrodes implanted into its brain. This caused the monkey to develop a ‘bloody skin infection.’  

Jeremy Beckham, from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, issued a statement about the situation. “We wanted to look at the internal UC Davis records themselves. Including videos and photographs. To get a better understanding of what was happening to the animals in the experiments. As well verify the integrity and promise of the research.”