Mashable:

On the same day Elon Musk announced that his brain implant device company Neuralink is preparing for its first human trials, a damning new report featuring insight from a former Neuralink employee shed new light on the brutal conditions that Neuralink’s test monkey’s underwent before being euthanized.

Inquiries and investigations have previously been launched regarding potential animal welfare violations at the company. However, the issue was once again thrust into the spotlight last week after Musk claimed that no monkeys had died as a result of the Neuralink implant.

“No monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant,” Musk said in a post on X. Regarding early implants, Musk made the claim that, “to minimize risk to healthy monkeys, we chose terminal [monkeys] (close to death already).”

Ten days later, Musk would share a Neuralink post about how the company would soon roll-out human trials.

“We’re excited to announce that recruitment is open for our first-in-human clinical trial!” posted the official Neuralink account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, earlier this week.

Musk added his own comment as well.

“The first human patient will soon receive a Neuralink device,” Musk followed up in an X post on Wednesday, explaining the potential benefits the company is hoping to provide with the device for those with quadriplegia or ALS.

“Imagine if Stephen Hawking had had this,” Musk continued.

Hours later, Wired would publish a new report detailing the torturous conditions the test monkeys underwent before their eventual deaths, directly disputing Musk’s recent claims about the animals and their suffering.

According to Wired, records show that one monkey was euthanized in March 2019 after her health declined in the months following the Neuralink implant. A report found that the monkey’s brain was bleeding and the implant left “parts of her cerebral cortex focally tattered.” According to the report, the issues began in the days following the implant as the monkey started to push her head against the floor, signaling she was in pain. The monkey would pick at the implant, another sign of the animal’s discomfort. Eventually the monkey lost coordination and would “shake uncontrollably” around Neuralink workers.

A monkey who received the Neuralink implant in December 2019 was euthanized after part of the device “broke off” during the surgery. The company attempted another surgery to fix the issue but found fungal and bacterial infections which they could not clear because the implant was blocking the infected area. Another monkey was euthanized just months later after “his cranial implant became loose.”

In addition, the report shared comments from a former Neuralink employee as well as a researcher with knowledge of the tests, both of whom refuted Musk’s claims about the monkeys being terminally ill before the Neuralink implants. The former employee called Musk’s claim “ridiculous” and shared that the monkeys had to undergo a year of behavioral training before the implants.

To read the report in full, check out Wired‘s piece here.


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MuskWire TLDR:

On the same day that Elon Musk announced that his brain implant device company, Neuralink, is preparing for its first human trials, a new report revealed the harsh conditions and suffering that test monkeys at Neuralink underwent before being euthanized. Previous inquiries and investigations have been launched regarding potential animal welfare violations at the company. However, these concerns came to the forefront again last week after Musk claimed that no monkeys had died as a result of the Neuralink implant. The report contradicts Musk’s claims, detailing the brutal conditions and deaths of the test monkeys. It reveals that one monkey was euthanized after experiencing health issues and a bleeding brain following the Neuralink implant. Another monkey was euthanized after part of the device broke off during surgery, leading to infections that could not be cleared due to the implant blocking the infected area. A former Neuralink employee and a researcher both disputed Musk’s claims about the monkeys being terminally ill before the implants, calling them “ridiculous.” This report has shed new light on the treatment of animals at Neuralink and has raised further concerns about animal welfare violations at the company.