There is a possibility of animal welfare prosecution against Neuralink. According to Reuters, the federal government is looking into Neuralink for possible animal welfare offenses. The medical firm located in San Francisco is performing animal studies while it applies to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to commence human clinical trials.
Since 2018, employees at Neuralink have admitted to killing about 1,500 animals, including 280 sheep, pigs, and monkeys. However, the circumstances of the animals’ deaths are being criticized, not the number itself, since medical businesses frequently utilize animals in tests.
Discontent among Neuralink staff has been on the rise, which coincides with the investigation by the USDA. Employees claim that Elon Musk‘s demands for faster progress led to faulty tests that resulted in the unnecessary deaths of additional animals.
Neuralink claims that its brain implant may treat a variety of neurological disorders, including paralysis and blindness. Neuralink has had more failures than successes in its attempts to speed up the process and launch human clinical trials.
An organization called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has been advocating for humane alternatives to animal experimentation, and they just received public data describing some gruesome operations.
Nausea in one rhesus macaque monkey was “so severe that the animal vomited and had open sores in her esophagus before she was finally killed,” Ryan Merkley, the director of research advocacy at PCRM, told VOX. After implanting the Neuralink device, surgeons filled the resulting holes in an animal’s skull with an unauthorized brain glue, “which then caused the animal to suffer greatly due to brain hemorrhaging,” as Merkley put it.
He also pointed to “instances of animals suffering from chronic infections, like staph infections where the implant was in their head. There were animals pulling out their hair and self-mutilating, which are signs of really poor psychological health in laboratory animals and are very common in rhesus macaques” and other primates.
Elon Musk is eager to advance to human trials, despite the fact that Neuralink is struggling with unethical testing techniques and might be penalized under the Animal Welfare Act. Musk said in a presentation last week at Neuralink headquarters that human clinical trials might begin within six months.
During a long-awaited public update, Musk said, “We want to be extremely careful and certain that it will work well before putting a device into a human.” Musk is said to be very angry because Neuralink has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines he has set.
He reportedly sent an email to all of Neuralink’s staff earlier this year in which he said, “In general, we are just not going fast enough. I can’t stand it! Earlier this year, he also contacted Synchron, a rival that had a big milestone in July when it successfully implanted its device in a patient in the United States.”
Neuralink might face charges related to animal welfare. federal authorities are investigating Neuralink for potential violations of animal welfare laws. The San Francisco medical company is doing animal tests as it submits an application to the FDA for approval to begin human clinical trials.
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