Since 2017, Elon Musk’s company Neuralink has subjected animals—including monkeys, pigs, rats, and sheep—to invasive, often deadly brain experiments.
Through 2020, the company paid $1.4 million to the University of California, Davis, to use its facilities, where experimenters removed portions of monkeys’ skulls to implant electrodes in the animals’ brains as part of Neuralink’s development of a “brain-machine interface.” Only in 2022, following a public records lawsuit by the Physicians Committee, did the troubling details of these experiments begin to come to light. The company is still conducting experiments on animals at its facilities in California and Texas.
- Physicians Committee’s Response to "Neuralink's Commitment to Animal Welfare"
- Our Federal Complaint Against Neuralink and UC Davis for Apparent Violations of the Animal Welfare Act (Including Veterinary Records)
- Original Records of Each Monkey Used by Neuralink at UC Davis
Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interfaces Are the Future
Devices implanted in the brain come with a myriad of problems, including difficulty of repair and a high potential for severe medical complications. In comparison, noninvasive BMIs can allow for the risk-free monitoring of large-scale neuronal activity across the entire brain.
While Neuralink continues its invasive, painful, deadly experiments, noninvasive methods—which often rely on brain signals read using an electroencephalogram (EEG)—are already changing patients’ lives and hold even greater promise:
- Noninvasive BMIs can improve quality of life for older adults and elderly patients. They “have been used for restoring memory and planning using electromagnetic stimulation and biofeedback that modulate activity in a patient’s brain as part of a rehabilitation program….Moreover, invasive [BMIs] that require implantation of the device might be a serious ethical issue. Therefore, non-invasive EEG-based [BMIs]…appear to be the most promising technologies.”
- They can “assist paralyzed patients by providing access to the world without requiring surgical intervention.”
- They can allow patients with limited mobility to control robotic arms. “[Invasive BCIs] require a substantial amount of medical and surgical expertise to correctly install and operate, not to mention cost and potential risks to subjects…”
- They can allow patients with severe tetraplegia to control a wheelchair.
- Noninvasive BMIs can also allow people to communicate directly using a computer, and research is being done to improve this capability.
The development of noninvasive BMIs should be the focus of innovation, and there is clearly much discussion in support of moving in that direction. Neuralink should halt its animal experiments immediately and invest in human-relevant research.
- Reuters | Exclusive: Probe of Musk's Neuralink to scrutinize long-criticized U.S animal welfare regulator | Dec. 19, 2022
- Fortune | A major medical ethics group just asked the FDA to disqualify data from Elon Musk’s Neuralink animal experiments: ‘We want the FDA to proactively launch an investigation’ | Dec. 13, 2022
- Vox | Neuralink shows what happens when you bring “move fast and break things” to animal research | Dec. 11, 2022
- Reuters | U.S. lawmakers push for more oversight of Elon Musk's Neuralink | Dec. 8, 2022
- Reuters | Exclusive: Musk’s Neuralink faces federal probe, employee backlash over animal tests | Dec. 5, 2022
- Futurism | Battle Erupts Over Alleged Grisly Photos of Brain-Hacked Neuralink Monkeys | Sept. 28, 2022
- KXAN | Protesters downtown Austin call on Elon Musk’s ‘Neuralink’ company to stop testing on monkeys | Aug. 3, 2022
- The Aggie | UC Davis primate lab sued to release documentation of Neuralink experiments | Mar. 3, 2022
- CNN | Elon Musk's Neuralink confirms monkeys died in project, denies animal cruelty claims | Feb. 17, 2022
- New York Post | Elon Musk’s Neuralink allegedly subjected monkeys to ‘extreme suffering’ | Feb. 10, 2022
We need your help today to end Elon Musk's monkey experiments!
Hundreds of pages of newly obtained public records reveal troubling details.