VW bosses demand probe into diesel tests on monkeys



The BBC reports German carmakers funded research that involved having humans and monkeys inhale diesel exhaust fumes to gauge the health impact.

The experiments are said to have been carried out back in 2014 in the United States by the "European Research Association for Environment and Health in the Transport Sector" (EUGT), which is founded by Daimler, VW, BMW and Bosch companies.

Tests on monkeys were carried out in the USA by the same organisation, the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT).

Monkeys were caged watching television cartoons for hours at a time, while inhaling fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle.

German auto manufacturers have been testing the impact of diesel fumes on monkeys by getting them to inhale them in lab conditions.

The human trials involved 25 healthy people.

In 2011, LRRI was cited for six violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act-including for the strangulation death of a monkey who became caught on an experimental jacket and for the escape of an infant monkey-and fined $21,750. "We're convinced the scientific methods chosen then were wrong".

"These tests on monkeys or even on humans are not ethically justifiable in any shape or form", her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said on Monday.

It was VW's admission in 2015 that it had manipulated 11 million diesel cars with cheating software to make them seems less polluting than they were that brought close scrutiny to the industry, which had long touted diesels as better for the environment than petrol-powered engines.

Daimler said, however, that all work commissioned with the EUGT was "accompanied and reviewed by a research advisory committee consisting of scientists from renowned universities and research institutes".

But over the weekend, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung unearthed further reports indicating that nitrogen dioxide tests were carried out in humans around the same time. They were meant to show modern diesel technology had solved the problem of excess emissions, but according to the Times report the Volkswagen vehicle in the tests was equipped with illegal software that turned emissions controls on while the auto was on test stands and off during regular driving. The test vehicle was rigged to reduce emissions, part of a much bigger scandal that would later cost Volkswagen tens of billions. "We condemn the experiments in the strongest terms".

In the end, the EUGT, which was disbanded in 2017, concluded that no health effects could be detected.

"In the name of the entire supervisory board, I would emphatically distance myself from such practices [.] The events that took place have to be unreservedly and comprehensively cleared up", said Volkswagen supervisory board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch in a statement.

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 are conscious of our social and corporate responsibilities and are taking the criticism regarding the study very seriously".

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