Billionaire Elon Musk’s medical device company, Neuralink, is facing a federal investigation into allegations of possible animal rights violations amid complaints from company employees that animal experiments are being accelerated, causing many to die unnecessarily, according to documents seen by Reuters. familiar with the investigation and activities of the company.
Neuralink is working on it Development of a chip implanted in the brain She hopes to help paralyzed people walk again, as well as treat other neurological conditions.
Two sources familiar with the matter said the Department of Agriculture Inspector General launched a previously unreported federal investigation in the past few months at the request of a federal prosecutor.
One source said the investigation focused on violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which governs how researchers treat and experiment with animals.
Neuralink employees disagree with animal testing
The investigation comes at a time of growing opposition from Neuralink employees to animal testing, including complaints that pressure from CEO Musk to speed up research has led to failed experiments, according to a Reuters review of dozens of company documents and interviews with more than 20 employees. , now and before.
Employees say the failed experiments led to repetition, which increased the number of animals tested and subsequently euthanized. Company documents include previously unknown letters, audio recordings, emails, presentations and reports.
Musk and other Neuralink executives did not respond to requests for comment.
A spokesman for the USDA inspector general declined to comment.
US law does not limit the number of animals companies can use for research, leaving scientists free to decide when and how to use animals in experiments.
Neuralink has passed all USDA inspections of its facilities as evidenced by its regulatory disclosures.
Overall, the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, since 2018, according to reports reviewed by Reuters and sources with direct knowledge of the company’s animal experiments.
Sources described the figure as an approximation because the company doesn’t keep accurate records of how many animals it experiments on before killing them. Neuralink has also tested mice.
Many companies routinely use animals in experiments to improve human health and face financial difficulties to bring products to market quickly. Animals are usually killed after experiments are completed, and are also often autopsied after being killed for research purposes.
Musk caused an uproar following his decision to buy Twitter in a huge $44 billion deal, as he reversed the decision and entered into a legal battle with the social media giant before proceeding with the deal, firing many of its employees and charging a blue checkmark to raise concerns about the future of the company.