On September 29, an animal rights group is suing the University of California, Davis, on the grounds that the latter conducted cruel animal experiments for Neuralink, a brain-computer interface company owned by Elon Musk.The group said the university had 371 photos related to Neuralink’s experiments on monkeys.
The animal rights group, the Committee of Physicians for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), claims UC Davis has 185 photos related to the autopsy of animals killed in Neuralink experiments and another 186 of cruelty on monkeys Photos of the experiment, which involved drilling holes in monkeys’ skulls and implanting electrodes into their brains.
PCRM said it learned of the existence of the photos through a UC Davis legal document dated September 7, 2022. The group revealed that between 2017 and 2020, Neuralink paid UC Davis $1.4 million to use the university’s facilities for animal experiments.
Ryan Merkley, director of research advocacy at PCRM, said: “UC Davis thinks the public is too stupid to know what they’re doing. But it’s clear that the university is just trying to hide that fact from taxpayers, That is, it is working with Musk to conduct experiments that lead to animal cruelty and even death.”
A spokesman for Neuralink did not respond to a request for comment, while a spokesman for UC Davis reiterated a February statement. At the time, the agency said that the study protocol was thoroughly reviewed and approved by the university’s “Experimental Animal Care and Use Committee” during its collaboration with Neuralink.
“Animal research is strictly regulated, and UC Davis complies with all applicable laws and regulations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” the statement added.
The statement from UC Davis comes after PCRM sued the university for not releasing photos and videos of experiments it conducted for Neuralink from 2017 to 2020. In addition, PCRM filed a complaint with the USDA, alleging that UC Davis violated federal animal welfare laws.
It has previously been reported that PCRM claims to have obtained records showing the monkeys experienced “extreme distress” due to insufficient animal care and the highly invasive head implants used in the experiments.
At the time, Neuralink responded to the allegations, denying several reports of injuries by animal rights groups and saying the company was “absolutely committed to conducting animal testing in the most humane and ethical manner.” Neuralink also said it has since It has since started trials using its own in-house facilities.
Neuralink is working on developing a computer brain interface system that can read and write brain activity. In the past, Musk has claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) brain chips will one day be able to do everything from curing paralysis to giving people telepathic superpowers, calling the device a “Fitbit on the skull.”
Last year, Musk said the company plans to implant the chip in humans by the end of 2021, but the device has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin human trials.