Monkeys being tested on by Elon Musk-owned brain chip firm Neuralink were allegedly subject to ‘torture’, an animal rights group claims.
The biotech firm is developing a brain-computer interface, that it claims could one day make humans hyper-intelligent, and allow paralyzed people to walk again.
However, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) alleges that between 2017 and 2020, test monkeys owned by Neuralink were subject to experiments that amounted to torture, with evidence of rashes, self-mutilation and brain hemorrhages in documentation seen by the group.
The experiments were a partnership between University of California Davis, and Neuralink, with a reported 23 monkeys involved in the experiment, 15 of which died or were euthanized as a result of complications, or ‘inadequate animal care’.
PCRM lodged a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture on Thursday against UC Davis, claiming the primates faced ‘extreme suffering as a result of inadequate animal care and the highly invasive experimental head implants during the experiments.’
UC Davis ended its relationship with Neuralink in 2020 and says during the experiments it had thoroughly reviewed and approved research protocols.
A spokesperson for UC Davis toldthat ‘UC Davis staff provided veterinary care, including round-the-clock monitoring of experimental animals and reported any incidents to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which mandated training and protocol changes as needed.’