The Biden administration has reportedly launched a federal investigation into Elon Musk’s Neuralink for potential violations of animal welfare laws.
According to Reuters, the Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General opened the probe “at the request of a federal prosecutor” to look at how researchers treat and test animals at the medical device company.
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.
Reuters could not determine the full scope of the federal investigation or whether it involved the same alleged problems with animal testing identified by employees in Reuters interviews. A spokesperson for the USDA inspector general declined to comment. U.S. regulations don’t specify how many animals companies can use for research, and they give significant leeway to scientists to determine when and how to use animals in experiments. Neuralink has passed all USDA inspections of its facilities, regulatory filings show. (Reuters)
The number of animals killed after experiments, about 1,500 according to the report, does not necessarily mean Neuralink is violating the Animal Welfare Act, but some employees claim the figure would not be that high if Musk weren’t pressuring the company to speed up research, as some experiments had to be repeated allegedly due to human error “working in a pressure-cooker environment.”
The timing of the probe, amid the release of the Twitter Files, is raising questions for some, while others say it's hypocritical in light of how the FTX scandal is being treated.
BREAKING: The US Government has launched an investigation into Elon Musk's Neuralink.— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 5, 2022
Elon caught the Elites with their pants down and now they're punching back. Pure corruption.
Now do FTX. https://t.co/0DVYyhCWrf— Scott D. Clary (@scottdclary) December 5, 2022
The federal government announces an investigation into Elon Musk's Neuralink while SBF is getting invited to testify before Congress after literally stealing $10 billion— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 6, 2022