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Thousands of animals were killed and suffered for Elon Musk’s Neuralink chip

a monkey with a rod in its mouth attached to a monitor

The past few weeks has seen national media coverage of the Neuralink chip, which is giving paralysed people a new lease of life, but behind closed doors hundreds of animals suffered and lost their lives for the scientific breakthrough.

Documents released to DailyMail.com reveal horrific inhumane experiments, such as drilling holes into monkey’s heads so they could implant chips before filling them in with glue.

The animals went through this barbaric procedure at least ten times before they were finally given a lethal anaesthetic.

Monkeys had parts of their limbs amputated causing repeated vomiting and diarrhoea.

The reports were leaked by campaign group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM] who say the monkeys experienced ‘extreme suffering’ during a 'systematic disregard' for their lives.

Last month Neuralink, launched by billionaire Elon Musk, asked quadriplegics under the age of 40 to come forward if they would be interested in taking part in a trial which would involve a surgeon removing part of their skull before 64 threads lined with electrodes would be inserted into the brain by a robot.

A statement released by PCRM said: '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.

'As such, the public should continue to be sceptical of the safety and functionality of any device produced by Neuralink'.

It added that ‘Musk's true intentions for Neuralink are disturbingly clear.'

'He has repeatedly said the goal of the company is ''to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence'' which is not necessarily in line with developing treatments for patients.'

Over 1,500 animals have undergone unbearable suffering and been killed for Neuralink research, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys.

Leaked documents show one bill at the UC Davis lab, where the experiments took place, included $11,870.40 for purchasing three animals and an extra $14,349.12 on the surgery.

The paperwork said there would be ‘16 hour terminal surgery’ which would require ‘evening/ OT charges’ suggesting staff would be paid overtime which was signed off by Ahmad Hakim-Elahi, the executive director of the research administration at UC Davis.

An email from AnnMarie Boyland, the director of administration and operations at UC Davis, stated the college had a ‘max’ agreement with Neuralink of £1,296,006, but failed to include additional invoices, such as the one for $487,207 and a subsequent one for $186,034, making a total of $1,969,247.

The animals were prepared for surgery by being given drugs like valium, fentanyl and anaesthetics before having an incision up to 10cm long on their scalps.

Records admit each implant ‘may not be perfect’ and bone screws would be used to anchor them into place.

Animals would reach certain locations with their hands or undergo short term memory exercises, they may also be forced to sit in a plastic box where they have no choice but to sit in an upright position.

If an animal refused to put its head through the neck plate they would be sedated and fastened with a collar to keep it in position.

The document states:  'Animals will be chair restrained for a maximum of five hours over the course of a single day. They may be chair restrained multiple times in a single day. Chair restraint may be performed every day, including weekends'.

Implants, the size of a quarter coin, were screwed into the monkey’s skulls using ‘'bone screws, dental acrylic and/or other approved materials.'

The request states: 'The device is designed to sit flush within the bone of a typical human skull so we expect it to protrude slightly when implanted into the macaque skull.

'Option to cover with acrylic: As our goal is a fully subcutaneous implant, we intend to use skin closure over the implant. However, it may not be possible to close the skin over the device without unacceptable tenting and/or risk of skin erosion, and we may, as a last resort, form a percutaneous acrylic implant over the device using approved materials and method'.

A note addressed the issue that Bioglue was used on one of the monkeys.

 'At the time of skin closing the lead surgeon had concerns about the void in between the two implants and applied Bioglue to fill the dead space in between the implants on midline.

'According to protocol, Bioglue and bacitracin were not listed for approved use. The protocol is a composite of a previous withdrawn protocol and miscellaneous amendments. One past amendment addressed the adverse effect of Bioglue coming in contact with an animal subject's brain surface.

'The preventative action arising from this event was to discontinue the use of Bioglue'.

The report went on to request every monkey to be put down after the procedure.

One monkey had 'multiple digit tips amputated' and had 'diarrhoea in the first year of life'.

Another was on antidepressants before being put down, the monkey was only expected to live less than a month after the procedure, but it went on to live for another seven months.

A third monkey underwent an invasive procedure when staff drilled holes in its skull before inserting electrodes into the brain. Two months later the implant became infected meaning the staff had to use ‘copious amounts’ of antibiotics to clean the area.

In February 2023 UC Davis was accused of breaching federal law by transporting infectious pathogens without safely packaging them.

[ The college has refused to release 371 photographs of the monkeys it experimented on for Neuralink. ]

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