Animal Welfare Concerns Raised as Experts Highlight Potential Conflicts of Interest in Neuralink

Neuralink: Experts warn of possible conflicts of interest in animal welfare

Experts are warning of possible conflicts of interest over animal welfare at Neuralink, Elon Musk’s brain implant company. Reports suggest that the animal welfare committee may have been staffed by company insiders, with 19 of the 22 board members also employed by Neuralink.

Although animal welfare bodies are required by US federal law, the company’s composition has raised questions about potential violations of conflict of interest rules, according to animal research and bioethics experts.

Conducting experiments with brain chips on animals is a prerequisite for government approval for experiments on humans, which is Neuralink’s ultimate goal. With a permit for experiments on humans, the value of the company would increase, potentially making senior executives millions with their shares.

The University of California at Davis originally partnered with Neuralink for animal testing, but the two parted ways after a dispute over procedures. Neuralink now conducts its own research and monitoring.

The US Department of Health has approached Neuralink for funding in the past, but Musk rejected this to avoid public oversight. The USDA is responsible for enforcing animal welfare regulations, but former employees have described enforcement of conflicts of interest rules as lax. The regulatory agency, along with the Department of Justice, is currently investigating a potential animal welfare violation.

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