Elon Musk’s Neuralink is under investigation for the deaths of 1500 animals

Neuralink, Elon Musk’s technology and medicine company, is being investigated by the US Department of Agriculture for possibly violating animal welfare laws.

Documents obtained by Reuters show that the company has killed more than 1500 test subjects since 2018. According to officials, many of these deaths could have been avoided if there wasn’t so much pressure from Musk to deliver quick results.

Neuralink is developing a brain implant that would help paralyzed people walk again, as well as cure other neurological problems.

The problem is that all the tests have been done on animals like pigs, monkeys, sheep and rats. Several died – the figure of 1500 is still an estimate, as the company does not keep up-to-date records on deaths.

Pigs with chips, researchers with “bombs”

It is common for animals to be used in research aimed at bringing improvements to human health and then killed, so that the autopsy also serves as study material. But Neuralink officials claim that the company’s numbers could be much lower if there weren’t so many errors in the tests. The mistakes would be the result of Musk’s rush to get results.

One of the executive’s tactics to pressure researchers is to ask them to imagine a bomb strapped to their heads. One of the sources heard by the report also mentioned that Musk also spoke, on more than one occasion, of purposely causing problems in the market to affect the company’s operations if there was no rapid advance in the research.

In one of the cases mentioned by the sources, 25 pigs died in 2021 after having the wrong size devices implanted in their heads. The mistake, according to the employees themselves, could have been avoided if they had had more preparation time. Because of this, the test was redone in 36 sheep, which also died after the end of the research. That is, more deaths happened due to the initial error.

In another situation, in February, Neuralink admitted that six monkeys died due to health problems caused by the tests.

The activist group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine claimed that the monkeys only died because the company’s surgeons used the wrong surgical glue, causing the animals to suffer needlessly before their deaths.

The company has yet to comment on the allegations.

At an event in late November, Musk announced that Neuralink plans to begin trials of implanting a chip in human brains within the next six months.

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