Elon Musk’s brain chip company has denied claims that it is torturing monkeys for the futuristic technology – which the billionaire claims will enable quadriplegics to walk again.
Neuralink aims to connect human brains to computers, and is hoping to begin human trials later this year.
However, a US doctors’ group which partners which the technology company has filed a complaint against it with the Department of Agriculture for its treatment of its current test subjects, macaque monkeys.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has alleged that the UC Davis California National Primate Research Centre — which received more than $1.4m from Neuralink to conduct experiments — failed to provide dying monkeys with sufficient veterinary care.
The Centre also used an unapproved substance called “BioGlue” that destroyed portions of monkeys’ brains and failed to help the psychological well-being of the monkeys in the experiment, according to a statement released by the group.
Some 15 out of the 23 macaque monkeys Neuralink have inserted brain implants into have reportedly died.
Neuralink wrote on Twitter: “Animals at Neuralink are respected and honored by our team. Without proper context, information from medical records and study data can be misleading.”
In a separate blog post, Musk’s brain chip company added that “The use of every animal was extensively planned and considered to balance scientific discovery with the ethical use of animals.
“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.”