Elon Musk’s Company Admits That A Bunch Of Monkeys Died During The Neuralink Trials, But That It Was All “Humane”
Everything I thought I needed to know about animal testing I learned from the Season 3 episode of Degrassi Junior High, where Caitlin and Liz debate the ethics of animal testing on a monkey. I’m pretty sure they were talking about testing makeup on monkeys, but that’s not the point. The end was left pretty ambiguous and made space for the moral reasoning of the thoughtful, sophisticated viewer at home (aka me sitting cross-legged on the living room carpet in a Northern Getaway tracksuit, slamming Gushers). Elon Musk’s brain chip company, Neuralink, recently gave its own little lecture on animal testing, but not because they wanted to educate the kids in the same way Degrassi did. They had to comment on a recent situation involving many dead monkeys. So Neuralink had to say something, and they want everyone to know that those dead monkeys went to monkey heaven in only the most humane way, alright?
You’ll have to excuse me, I should be more specific when I say Neuralink was allegedly dealing with “many dead monkeys.” We’re dealing with a reported 15 dead test subjects from a total of 23 (that’s 65% by the way). The details of those deaths are gruesome and upsetting. According to BBC News, a complaint was filed last week by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine against UC Davis. UC Davis was who Neuralink had partnered with to test their brain chips that have been in production for the past couple of years. In short, Elon Musk has a dream to insert microchips into your thinker so you can operate a computer with your brain. We all have faith that this man won’t screw up a brain chip. I mean, he successfully made a car that doesn’t spontaneously catch fire, that also won’t open if the temp dips below zero. Oh wait, that must be some other person.
The complaint from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine alleges that the type of testing has animal rights types reaching for the nearest chair to sit down and take a moment. via BBC News:
The complaint was filed last week and related to “invasive and deadly brain experiments conducted on 23 monkeys”.
It claims: “Most of the animals had portions of their skulls removed to implant electrodes in their brains.”
It also alleges that macaque monkeys used in the experiment were caged alone, suffered “facial trauma” and had seizures and infections local to the site of the implant.
Some were euthanised before they were used in experiments, it claims.
The report states that along with facial trauma and seizures, some of the monkeys exhibited signs of psychological trauma like vomiting, anxiety, hair loss, poor appetite, and self-mutilation, like removing their own fingers. The report also claims that some died from brain infections caused by a product called BioGlue, which literally rotted their brains.
PETA likely saw those claims of animal cruelty and abuse and immediately started putting together an emergency task force of 15 lower-level celebrities willing to pose in furry bikinis for a billboard erected outside of Elon’s house that reads: “Murdering 15 monkeys for brain chips? That’s bananas!” You don’t even have to be an animal rights activist to feel like 15 dead monkeys are too many damn dead monkeys. Neuralink finally released a statement regarding the report filed by the Physicians Committee. They’re not denying that the monkeys are dead. But they do deny all the claims of animal abuse alleged by the Physicians Committee. Neuralink posted a response to the report on their personal blog and claimed that the care of the monkeys was always of the utmost importance to them. via BBC News:
Neuralink emphasises its commitment to animal welfare: “Our central mission is to design an animal care program prioritising the needs of the animals, rather than the typical strategy of building for human convenience alone.”
“The use of every animal was extensively planned and considered to balance scientific discovery with the ethical use of animals,” it stated.
Neuralink acknowledged that two animals were put to death “at planned end dates to gather important histological data”.
Another six monkeys were euthanised on the medical advice of the veterinary team at UC Davis, it said.
“These reasons included one surgical complication involving the use of the FDA-approved product, BioGlue, one device failure and four suspected device-association infections,” it said.
Neuralink acknowledged the accusation of the monkey’s self-mutilation but blames the missing monkey fingers on monkeys just getting into fights with each other.
Neuralink wraps their statement up by saying that they believe the facilities at UC Davis meet the standards for animal testing, but that they’d like to work with them to ensure better conditions for the test subjects. Okay sure. Sounds great. I have an idea! I’m not as smart as Elon Musk, but I’d say I’m probably as smart as a monkey. Why doesn’t UC Davis and Neuralink develop a simple red light/green light communication device with the remaining 8 still-alive monkeys, so that they can get some consent first before they insert anything into those little monkey skulls? They probably won’t, because that would only benefit the monkeys. All eight would use their remaining fingers to hit the red light the second they heard, “BioGlue infection.”