Neuralink Has No Animal Welfare Breaches, Regulator Concludes

The head of the US animal welfare agency told lawmakers that he found no violations of animal research rules in Neuralink. The regulator conducted an investigation following a complaint filed in February 2022.

Officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted a “focused” investigation of Neuralink. It was carried out in response to a complaint about the way the company conducts animal experiments. The regulator found no wrongdoing, the agency’s secretary Thomas Vilsack wrote to Congressman Earl Blumenauer in a July 14 letter reviewed by Reuters. The inspection included a visit to two Neuralink sites in January 2023. Vilsack added that there will be more inspections.

The agency did not include in its citations an “adverse surgical event” at Neuralink, which took place in August 2019. The company reported this in advance and took corrective action. They were in line with the policy at the time.

The complaint that prompted the last review was filed by the PCRM in February 2022. It was directed against Neuralink and the University of California at Davis, which at the time was collaborating with the company. It claimed that Neuralink conducted lethal experiments on 23 monkeys between 2017 and 2020. The company ended its partnership with UC Davis in 2020.

Since then, the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has been investigating possible animal rights violations at the request of a federal attorney. “Should (the OIG) investigate the Neuralink facility and find that USDA should take additional actions, we will fully cooperate to take those actions,” Vilsack wrote.

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