Elon Musk’s cybernetics company Neuralink is facing a federal probe and employee backlash over animal tests. 

Neuralink is under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations, potentially based on staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths.

Neuralink Corp has been working on a brain implant that it hopes will help paralyzed people walk again and cure other neurological ailments. 

However a probe by the US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General at the request of a federal prosecutor is now focusing on violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which governs how researchers treat and test some animals.

It comes alongside complaints that pressure from Neuralink’s CEO, Elon Musk, has resulted in botched experiments.

As the failed tests have to be repeated, the number of animals being tested and killed is increasing too, employees say. 

Official regulatory filings allegedly show that the company has killed about 1,500 animals, including more than 280 sheep, pigs and monkeys, following experiments since 2018.

That figure is considered a rough estimate because the company does not keep precise records on the number of animals tested and killed. Neuralink has also conducted research using rats and mice.

This number does not necessarily indicate that Neuralink is violating regulations or standard research practices, but employees have told reporters that the number of animal deaths is higher than it needs to be because of Mr Musk’s demands to speed research. 

More details are accessible here.