Animal rights groups have told the U.S. government that Elon Musk’s brain technology startup Neuralink and the University of California, Davis, have committed “egregious violations of animal welfare laws” while testing brain implants. I’m asking you to cite the claim that it is possible. monkey device.
The nonprofit Physicians Commission for Responsible Medicine plans to file a formal complaint with the USDA on Thursday, according to a draft filing seen by The Daily Beast.
The Board of Physicians is an activist group “dedicated to saving and improving human and animal life through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research,” according to its website.
Neuralink has a research partnership with UC Davis through 2020, and documents show that scientists at the university helped test the company’s technology on macaques.
The startup, which appears to be getting closer to human testing, was co-founded by Musk in 2016. Its initial goal is to help alleviate disabilities such as paralysis, but the billionaire has previously expressed ambitions to help humans develop “symbiosis” with artificial intelligence. A vision that some experts fear.
In recent years, Neuralink videos, such as a video of a monkey controlling a “ping-pong” video game, have gone viral online.
“Neuralink seems to be very good at marketing and making very curated videos. It’s dark.
Asked about these allegations, Musk said Neuralink has limited work with universities.
“Neuralink goes to great lengths to care for our animals. We do not ‘fund’ UC Davis. This is a state agency. Clearly,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Beast. He added, “The truth and The Daily Beast are not well known.”
When provided a copy of the partnership agreement between Neuralink and the university, detailing $796,006 in its first round of funding in 2017, Musk responded with a slightly modified answer. Government-funded agency. They provided us with a handful of macaque monkeys and we look after them very well. ”
He further said that previous news reports about the partnership were “not exactly accurate.”
It’s not clear which elements Mr. Musk is disputing. The contract outlines his three-phase plan with UC Davis to request 14 monkeys, six of which are designated for “final” treatment after being euthanized after surgery. I was able to test my brain.
A university spokesperson also confirmed that the two organizations worked together. “UC Davis has a research collaboration with Neuralink that ended in 2020. The study protocol was thoroughly reviewed and approved by the campus’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee,” said a spokesperson. person writes.
“We strive to provide the best possible care for the animals we care for. Animal research is highly regulated and UC Davis complies with all applicable laws and regulations.”
The Medical Commission argues otherwise. In a draft complaint it plans to file with the USDA, the activist group, based on more than 600 pages of university documents obtained through the lawsuit, said at least 23 macaques were identified as “Neuralink – a project funded by Many, if not all, of the monkeys experienced extreme distress as a result of poor animal care and highly invasive experimental head implants.”
According to the group, some animals underwent as many as 10 craniotomy operations, were chained to chairs for up to five hours a day, or “went a final (lethal) procedure.”
At least one monkey was euthanized due to “infection around the monkey’s head implant,” according to the complaint. Another macaque is also said to have deteriorated in health after receiving an implant. After it was also euthanized, an autopsy found signs of “cerebral hemorrhage” and “acute esophageal ulcer, probably from vomiting.”
A medical board filed a lawsuit last year, alleging that the University of California, Davis refused to turn over documents as part of a public records request. (A university spokesperson said, “At their request, we complied fully with the California Public Records Act.”)
Ultimately, they turned in a ton of documents, but the group is now seeking additional monkey health records, photos and videos, according to Deborah Dubouw-Press, Associate General Counsel for the Board of Physicians. I am planning to sue.
The Press said it would be difficult for the group to monitor Neuralink’s current testing status because Neuralink is not a public agency. Even if the nonprofit manages to convince his USDA to cite Neuralink and the university for previous partnerships, the financial stakes are relatively small.
“Unfortunately, the law doesn’t impose such severe penalties,” said research advocacy coordinator Beckham. “Even $10,000 is a lot in our system…these fines are often built in by the lab as a cost of doing business.”