Neuralink has responded to allegations of inhumane treatment during the animal testing stages of the company’s various products, stating that animal welfare is a priority. “At Neuralink, we are fully committed to working with animals in the most humane and ethical way.”
Last week, reports emerged of a lawsuit against UC Davis from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). The lawsuit alleges that the facility “failed to provide adequate veterinary care to the dying monkeys, used an unauthorized substance known as ‘Bioglue’ that killed monkeys by destroying parts of their brains, and failed to provide the psychological well-being of the monkeys intended for the work experience.” earlier in the day, Teslarati I mentioned Extensive schedule of events From the beginning of the partnership between UC Davis and Neuralink to the latest developments, which include video and photo capabilities of the animals participating in the test. Teslarati They obtained several copies of veterinary records from the autopsies of some of the monkeys used in the experiments.
Neuralink is now responding to various allegations of animal abuse in a lengthy statement detailing the past, present, and Future Developments for Neuralink Experiments. The company assures that all animals are treated with respect and ethics.
Neuralink terminated its partnership with UC Davis in November 2020, just two months after PCRM submitted a California public records request for information regarding Neuralink’s trials. The request was eventually rejected according to California Code 6255(a)which states that the agency “must justify the withholding of any record by establishing that the record in question is excluded under the express provisions of this chapter or that the public interest served by the record’s failure to disclose clearly outweighs the public interest in the facts of the particular case served by disclosure.” about the record.
Neuralink has brought several monkeys back to its testing facilities in Northern California for indoor experiments. “Once we finished building our in-house facility, we were able to bring some unimplanted macaques from UC Davis with us to Neuralink. This included the Pager device, which would later be implanted with our Neuralink device and going forward to achieve outstanding brain-computer interface performance, while also behaving freely. And without restrictions, as shown in Monkey MindPong . VideoThe company’s official response said. “While facilities and care at UC Davis continued to meet federal standards, we absolutely wanted to improve these standards as we moved animals to our in-house facilities.”
Neuralink says that “at no time have there been any injuries to the animals housed at UC Davis” while testing is underway. The company acknowledges that many animals have been euthanized for research purposes, but that it was conducted under controlled conditions:
“Initial work from these procedures allowed us to develop our new surgical and robotic procedures, and to create safer protocols for subsequent survival operations. Survival studies then allowed us to test the function of different generations of implanted devices as we refined them for human use. It was planned. For each animal’s extensive use and considered to strike a balance between scientific discovery and ethical use of animals.As part of this work, two animals were euthanized at the end dates planned for the collection of important histological data, and six animals were euthanized based on medical advice to the crew. Veterinarian at UC Davis These causes included one surgical complication involving use of an FDA approved product (BioGlue), one device failure, and four suspected device-related infections, a risk inherent in any percutaneous medical device. We developed new surgical protocols and designed a fully implanted device for future surgeries.”
Interestingly, PCRM said in a press release that “BioGlue” is a non-certified substance. FDA documents obtained by Teslarati It showed that BioGlue was approved for use in 2001, but the agency also included a warning of potential side effects when applying BioGlue to the phrenic nerve. Application of BioGlue to this area in animals can cause acute nerve injury. In addition, “BioGlue application to the surface of the heart can cause coagulative necrosis that extends into the myocardium, which can reach the underlying conduction tissues and may cause focal SA node degeneration,” the documents said. Five pigs were tested during initial animal trials while the Food and Drug Administration was determining the safety of BioGlue. All five pigs survived until the specified observation time.
At present, the animals participating in the Neuralink test are housed in the company’s 6,000-square-foot facility that houses farm animals and rhesus macaques. The company looks after the animals from the time they enter the facility to the time they leave, even detailing the process of “retirement” for the animal:
“Can we release animals that regularly choose not to participate or that have completed their contribution to the study? Yes! We chose to withdraw the animals into retirement at the end of their projects. Several macaques retired to a sanctuary last March because they consistently chose to spend their day swimming in private pools They scavenge for food and relax in the hammocks instead of attending the game we gave them. Their new attachments and safe haven costs were entirely funded by Neuralink.”
Going forward, Neuralink says it is always working to improve existing standards for animal welfare. “We also look forward to a day when animals are no longer necessary for medical research. However, our society currently depends on medical breakthroughs to treat diseases, prevent the spread of viruses and create technology that can change how people interact with the world. However, if animals are to be used in research within That is, their lives and experiences should be as vibrant and natural as possible. We will always strive to exceed industry standards and never stop asking ourselves: “Can we do better for animals?”, and we will never forget that it is a privilege to work with animals in research. It is upon us The responsibility to ensure that their experience is as peaceful, frank and joyful as possible.”
Neuralink’s full statement is available here.
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