Dec 5 (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a medical device company, is under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations amid internal staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths, according to documents reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the investigation and company operations.
If this news story is accurate, it is of significant concern. Animal research must involve time and space for the correct handling of animals and attention to animal welfare. The drive to conduct commercial research quickly and efficiently must never compromise this. The goal of the work is admirable and could be of significant benefit to many, but animal ethics principles are non-negotiable.
The investigation has come at a time of growing employee dissent about Neuralink’s animal testing, including complaints that pressure from CEO Musk to accelerate development has resulted in botched experiments, according to a Reuters review of dozens of Neuralink documents and interviews with more than 20 current and former employees. Such failed tests have had to be repeated, increasing the number of animals being tested and killed, the employees say. The company documents include previously unreported messages, audio recordings, emails, presentations and reports.