- Elon Musk’s brain chip company Neuralink is under federal investigation for animal rights abuse, Reuters reported.
- The company has reportedly killed nearly 1,500 animals since 2018, with many deaths allegedly preventable.
- Employees told Reuters that Musk was rushed because of the pressure cooker work environment, which led to careless mistakes.
Elon Musk’s brain chip company could cause another problem for the billionaire, as he balances running multiple companies, including Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX.
Reuters reports that Neuralink is under federal investigation by the US Department of Agriculture over concerns about animal welfare.
Twenty former and current employees of the health tech company told Reuters that Musk’s pressure cooker work environment caused staff to rush, make careless mistakes during testing, and cause more animals to suffer and die.
According to the report, around 1,500 animals, including sheep, pigs and monkeys, have been killed during Neuralink testing since 2018.
While many companies are testing animals before humans to bring new products to market, Neuralink employees told Reuters the company made several reckless mistakes involving the wrong surgical glue or the wrong size brain chip, resulting in scientists having to kill these animals. restart the experiments. Reuters was unable to determine whether the federal investigation involved the same alleged issues with the animal experiments it found by speaking to employees.
Multiple workers reportedly had Musk tell them to imagine a bomb strapped to their heads to make them move faster.
“We’re not moving fast enough. It’s driving me crazy,” he wrote to employees earlier this year.
Neuralink and US Department of Agriculture representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Reuters reports that Neuralink’s facilities have passed all USDA inspections.
Neuralink was founded in 2016 by Musk and a group of scientists and engineers to develop brain chips that would allow computers to read brain signals. Last week, Musk announced that he plans to start human clinical trials next year and said he will try the brain-chip device himself.
Despite the pressure many employees felt while working at Neuralink, Musk reportedly told at least one former employee that he didn’t like using animals for research and wanted them to be “the happiest animals” while they were alive.
Neuralink has faced animal abuse allegations in the past. Earlier this year, an animal rights group accused the company’s researchers of exposing monkeys to “extreme pain” while testing their brain implants.
In one example of incidents provided by the group, a monkey allegedly lost fingers and toes “possibly due to self-injury” after an experiment.