How does he find the time?
Multibillionaire Elon Musk is busy running the electric vehicle company Tesla, launching rockets into the cosmos via SpaceX as he aims to put a man on Mars, and now he’s the top twit on Twitter, tweeting his little heart out.
But somehow he also oversees a bizarre program to design brain implants for humans — which new reports say has led to the deaths of some 1,500 animals on which the devices are being tested.
Musk said last week that a wireless “brain chip” developed by Neuralink could go into human clinical trials within six months. But a new report says since 2018, the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, according to Reuters.
The global news agency also said the 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.
Reuters also said the the federal probe, which had not been previously reported, was “opened in recent months by the US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General at the request of a federal prosecutor, according to two sources with knowledge of the investigation.”
It’s not the first time Neuralink has come under fire. In February, an animal rights group, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), filed a complaint, claiming monkeys have been killed in botched surgeries to implant the chips.
“The group alleged that surgeons used the wrong surgical glue twice, which led to two monkeys suffering and ultimately dying, while other monkeys had different complications from the implants,” Reuters reported.
Treatment of monkeys burst into the headlines again last week when the PCRM launched a new website. The site says Neuralink’s experiments at the University of California, Davis, “resulted in chronic infections, seizures, paralysis, internal bleeding, and declining psychological health.”
“Hundreds of pages of public records revealed animals suffering from sloppy experiments that resulted in chronic infections, seizures, paralysis, internal bleeding, and declining psychological health before they were killed,” the site said.
“In two separate incidents, experimenters filled holes in monkeys’ skulls with an unapproved adhesive, which seeped through to the animals’ brains. In one monkey, the adhesive caused bleeding in her brain, and she vomited so much from the resulting side effects that she developed open sores in her esophagus,” the PCRM said.
“When it comes to Neuralink, Elon Musk is just a modern-day P.T. Barnum,” said Ryan Merkley, director of research advocacy with the Physicians Committee. “He’s a showman who makes big promises while hiding the grisly details from the public. We’re pulling back the curtain on him.”
Musk, though, says surgeries on animals are used only at a later stage of research in an effort to confirm that the device works rather than to test early hypotheses.
“We’re extremely careful,” he said, to make sure that testing is “confirmatory, not exploratory,” according to the UK’s Metro.
The federal probe will determine if that’s true.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.