Congressional monitoring of animal testing is the focus of Musk’s Neuralink investigation.

According to several people with knowledge of the situation, law enforcement officials looking into Elon Musk’s Neuralink’s animal trial programme are also scrutinising the US Department of Agriculture’s oversight of the company’s operations after the agency failed to take action regarding violations at other research organisations.

According to Reuters, the Office of the Inspector General, the USDA’s inspector, is looking into possible animal welfare breaches at Neuralink, a medical device business that is researching brain implants. According to those with knowledge of the situation, the probe was requested by a federal prosecutor in the civil division of the US attorney’s office for the northern district of California.

Reuters was unable to ascertain what alleged offences might be under investigation. According to the assessment released on December 5th, four recent trials involving 86 pigs and two monkeys were tainted by human error. The errors reduced the studies’ effectiveness as research tools and necessitated repeating the tests, which killed additional animals.

According to those familiar with the inquiry, given that the USDA conducted eight inspections of Neuralink’s facilities over the course of three years and found no breaches of animal welfare, federal investigators believe it is worthwhile to investigate the USDA’s monitoring of the business.

According to these sources, the Office of the Inspector General at the USDA, which has long criticised the agency as being overburdened and incompetent, played a role in the federal investigators’ decision to look into the USDA.

The department’s enforcement division “had a backlog of over 2,000 cases,” the watchdog reported in 2014, “a volume so vast that [animal inspectors] could not immediately resolve major violations.”