Elon Musk’s Neuralink Defends Tests on Monkeys

by Samantha Whidden
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Following the news that an animal rights group, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, has accused Elon Musk’s Neuralink of mistreating test monkeys, the company is now defending its testing on the primates. 

As previously reported, the animal rights group told the DailyMail last week that Elon Musk’s Neuralink, which is a brain chip firm, subjected its test monkeys to experimentation between 2017 and 2020. The experiments were part of a multi-year partnership with the University of California, Davis. The animal rights group reported rashes, self-mutilation, and brain hemorrhages in the monkeys. There were a total of 23 monkeys as part of the experiment. Of the 23, 15 of the monkeys reportedly died during the experiments or were euthanized., according to the group

While addressing the accusations, Neuralink stated that the company is absolutely committed to working with animals in the most humane and ethical way possible.

The company shared that early on in its infancy, it relied on external institutions to provide, house, and care for the animals. This was all while Neuralink was building its own in-house animal program. The company decided to work with the University of California, Davis’ California National Primate Research Center to conduct animal-based research. “Over the next two and a half years we worked with the staff at UC Davis. This was to establish the foundations of Neuralink’s research and development mission.”

Elon Musk’s company goes on to explain that when it started the type of medical research. Novel surgeries are complete first in animal cadavers. And then later in terminal procedures. “Cadavers are deceased animals who have been humanely euthanized due to a veterinary decision for a medical concern. Or euthanized as part of a previous unrelated research study.”

Elon Musk’s Neuralink also shared more information about the first studies with the University of California, Davis. “These animals [are] assigned to our project on the day of the surgery for our terminal procedure. Because they had a wide range of pre-existing conditions unrelated to our research.”

Elon Musk’s company further states that in addition to pre-existing conditions, these animals may have happened to lose digits throughout their life from conflicts with other monkeys. “Missing digits are often a result of rhesus macaques. Resolving conflict through aggressive interactions with one another.”

However, Elon Musk’s Neualink also said, “The initial work from these procedures allowed us to develop our novel surgical and robot procedures; Establishing safer protocols for subsequent survival surgeries. The use of every animal [is] extensively planned. And considered to balance scientific discovery with the ethical use of animals. ”

Neuralink went on to add that while the facilities and care at UC Davis did and continue to meet federally mandated standards, it absolutely wanted to improve upon these standards as it transitioned animals to its in-house facilities.

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