Neuralink and UC Davis accused of violations of the Animal Welfare Act

Neuralink MindPong
Credit: Neuralink

Elon Musk’s Neuralink and its research partners at the University of California Davis are being accused by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) of violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

PCRM, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit group that opposes using animals for medical research, filed the 716-page complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday

The complaint urges the USDA to investigate experiments involving 23 monkeys between 2018 and 2020 at the UC Davis California National Primate Research Center, saying the “carelessness by these facilities resulted in the suffering and death of several monkeys.”

The group based its complaint on a review of nearly 600 pages of documents it obtained through an public records lawsuit last year.

“The records reviewed by the Physicians Committee indicate that many, if not all, of the monkeys experienced extreme suffering as a result of inadequate animal care and the highly invasive experimental head implants during the experiments.”

As an example, the group says researchers used “Bioglue” to fill the space between two implants in a monkey’s head.

The group alleges the material destroyed portions of their brain and was not previously approved in the experiment protocol.

In a statement on its website, PCRM says “The university has refused to release photos and videos, claiming that the records belong to Neuralink, a private company not subject to California’s Public Records Act.

Neuralink has not responded to the complaint.

A UC Davis spokesperson confirmed with KCRA that it had a research collaboration with Neuralink in which it provided veterinary care, but that it ended in 2020.

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