Published: Wed, January 31, 2018
Economy | By

European Union 'shocked' by German carmakers' role in emissions tests on monkeys

European Union 'shocked' by German carmakers' role in emissions tests on monkeys

Not only has Volkswagen been condemned for cruelty but it was also damned for the revelation that the VW Beetle used in the tests...

Volkswagen suspended its head of external relations and sustainability amid accusations that the carmaker funded tests that exposed both monkeys and humans to diesel fumes.

The Times report was followed by one in Monday's edition of the Stuttgarter Zeitung daily that the now-closed research group also commissioned tests in which humans were exposed to nitrogen dioxide, which belongs to a class of pollutants known as nitrogen oxides.

Politicians, environmentalists, and animal rights groups have all been quick to condemn the experiments.

The experiments on monkeys at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque - carried out in 2014, a year before Volkswagen was caught using software to cloak excess diesel emissions - involved exposing a group of the animals to exhaust from a late-model diesel Volkswagen; a second group of monkeys was exposed to exhaust from an older Ford diesel pickup truck.

Since the Dieselgate scandal broke out, the TDI engines in all US and Canadian Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi models have been removed, while Mercedes-Benz eliminated all the diesel engines in their models as well. The EUGT was dissolved as of June 30, 2017.

The German auto maker said it has accepted a proposal by Steg himself that he step down from his post and assume full responsibility for the experiments that were revealed by the New York Times last week. Researchers conducted the experiments by feeding fumes into clear boxes with the monkeys inside, which were watching cartoons during the test.

In Brussels, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said yesterday the European Union was "shocked" and took note of Berlin's vow to investigate the matter, adding that "we hope that they will". Reports about the studies sound bad, but the university claims the aim of the experiment was to improve job safety by looking into the types of gases workers like truck driver inhale while on the job.

Despite VW distancing itself from the study, industry figures say the results would have been presented to managers at VW, BMW and Mercedes, all of whom belonged to the EUGT lobby group, which has since been disbanded.

The German government has called a special meeting with the affected vehicle companies to ask them to explain themselves. Muller called the tests "unethical and repulsive."

Greenpeace slammed "a fraudulent auto industry and an idle German government" behind the scandal and called Steg a "scapegoat".

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that "the disgust many people are feeling is absolutely understandable".

Question: If it's discovered that more VW executives were aware of this monkey test, would that be the end of VW?

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