The nonprofit organization Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine began a lawsuit against the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in February 2022 after it refused to release 371 images from Neuralink experiments.
The committee requests that UC Davis release images that, as of September 7th, UC Davis acknowledges amount to 185 photographs. According to the university's veterinary records, the experiments in question involve Neuralink experiments where experimenters cut holes into monkeys' skulls to implant electrodes for the company's in-development "brain-machine interface." Neuralink paid UC Davis $1.4 million between 2017 and 2020 for access to its facilities and animals, but the company now conducts experiments out of its own facilities.
UC Davis also acknowledged it possesses an additional 186 photographs captured by Neuralink employees throughout the monkey experiments. Though the university is publicly funded and public employees engaged with the experiments, UC Davis maintains the images should be not be made public as they are "proprietary" and that the public would misunderstand them.
Over 600 pages of records have been released by UC Davis detailing the experiments, which showed the monkeys suffered from numerous painful side effects, including chronic infections, seizures, and paralysis. On two separate occasions, experimenters used BioGlue, an unapproved adhesive, to seal holes in monkeys' skulls, which seeped into their brains, and in one instance, led to brain bleeds and severe vomiting that resulted in open sores in the monkey's esophagus.
"UC Davis thinks the public is too stupid to know what they're looking at. But it's clear the university is simply trying to hide from taxpayers the fact that it partnered with Elon Musk to conduct experiments in which animals suffered and died," said Ryan Merkley, director of research advocacy with the Physicians Committee
"These photos are public records created with public funds, and the public deserves access to the research they paid for," said Deborah Dubow Press, Esq., associate general counsel with the Physicians Committee.