Elon Musk‘s Neuralink researchers subjected animals to “extreme suffering” as they developed the microchip, it has been alleged.
According to reports, Neuralink‘s trials involved around 1,500 monkeys, pigs, and sheep.
Some animals allegedly had as many as 10 surgeries to have chips placed into their brains.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has branded the trials a “systematic disregard” for the animals’ lives.
They added in a statement: “Neuralink has a well-documented history of conducting unnecessary, sloppy experiments in monkeys, pigs, sheep, and other animals that raise serious concerns about the safety of its device.
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“As such, the public should continue to be sceptical of the safety and functionality of any device produced by Neuralink.”
Speaking to the Daily Star, Dr Penny Hawkins from the RSPCA said: “We have grave concerns about the suffering experienced by the animals.”
Neuralink has always denied allegations of animal cruelty, saying its trials were carried out in a “humane” way.
Musk wrote in a social media post in September that “no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant”.
However, the Daily Mail reports that surgeons drilled into the heads of animals and the implants sometimes did not fit properly.
The report adds that monkeys had parts of their body amputated, and were allegedly put down after having diarrhoea.
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Musk, also known for being the CEO of Tesla, gave the go-ahead for six years of testing to develop the “brain-computer interface.”
He has claimed that more than 5,000 people have put themselves forward to be involved with the project.
Announcing the first-ever human trial, Musk said on X: “The first human received an implant from @Neuralink yesterday and is recovering well. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection.”
He added: “The first @Neuralink product is called Telepathy.”
Musk has claimed that the microchip will “‘enable control of your phone or computer, and through them almost any device, just by thinking”.
The US Food and Drug Administration gave Musk’s company clearance to test the technology on humans last year.