Volkswagen vows to end animal testing after latest diesel scandal

Volkswagen alleged to have rigged experiment with monkeys to show safe level of emissions

Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler commissioned research in 2014 that saw caged monkeys subjected to diesel exhaust fumes, new research has revealed.

The study reportedly compared exhaust fumes and particulates with a then-new diesel-powered VW Beetle with those of an old Ford ute.

Volkswagen said on Monday that some of its employees, including some in the legal department, may have been aware of the tests on monkeys at the time, according to Reuters.

The same research has already put Volkswagen in hot water and earlier forced the company to plead guilty to USA federal fraud and conspiracy charges and pay billions in fines, after it was revealed the company had deliberately provided a testing auto which produced less harmful pollution levels inside a lab than on the road.

She added that "the fact that an entire industry has apparently tried to hide brazen and dubious methods of scientific research makes it even more monstrous", insisting that the auto industry and the scientific community must explain their role.

"Unbeknownst to LRRI, Volkswagen modified the engine in order to produce less pollution than it otherwise would have", LRRI President and CEO Robert Rubin said in a statement emailed to the Journal.

Strater said the minister wants an "immediate and detailed" explanation about why the tests were conducted and said a commissions set up to look into the VW emissions scandal will now probe the EUGT project.




Behind the tests was the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) - a since defunct organisation funded by German auto giants Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen Group.

Daimler said separately it would start an investigation into the study ordered by the European Scientific Study Group for the Environment, Health and Transport Sector.

The German government has strongly condemned the reports, with Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, saying the alleged tests can "in no way be ethically justified". Then they clarified that they did not have any influence on the study's design and they are now investigating the matter. In an additional twist, the VW Beetle model used in the test with animals was among the vehicles rigged to cheat on emissions tests, the New York Times reported. The EUGT folded before the results of the test could be compiled. Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Stuttgarter Zeitung newspapers reported Monday that healthy test subjects were asked to inhale nitrogen dioxide, a gas that is primarily emitted in traffic. "The EUGT has been in liquidation since June 30, 2017".

"The outrage felt by many people is completely understandable".

Daimler, meanwhile, owners of Mercedes, released a statement that said it was "appalled" by the study, adding: "We expressly distance ourselves from the studies and the EUGT". "We believe the animal tests in this study were unnecessary and repulsive".

But the research institute behind the tests was founded by Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and automotive components supplier Bosch, which has raised questions over the extent to which the experiments with humans were backed by the three major automakers, too.

Volkswagen has promised an inquiry into the scandal.

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