VW, Merc, BMW tested gas on monkeys, people
GERMAN carmakers Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are in damage control over diesel engine testing that involved monkeys caged in gas chambers.
The German Government has condemned the testing, with spokesman Steffen Seibert telling media: “These tests on monkeys or even people are in no ethical way justifiable and raise many critical questions about those who are behind the tests.”
A new Netflix documentary, Dirty Money, revealed the “repulsive” animal testing was carried out by a research group funded by Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes (Daimler) in 2014.
But the clean air study was actually a fraud, with one of the cars, a VW Beetle, reportedly fitted with dieselcheating software – meaning it was belching out more than 40 times the legal limit.
Testing by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico was originally due to use humans pedalling on exercise bikes.
But the study was changed to use 10 monkeys watching TV cartoons in airtight gas chambers with diesel fumes directed through a series of tubes.
The findings were never published and all three carmakers have denounced the research.
"I will do everything possible to ensure that this matter is investigated in detail," Volkswagen supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said in a statement.
"Whoever is responsible for this must of course be held accountable."
The $A870,000 in funding for the research came from the three firms via a not-for-profit organisation called EUGT, which was disbanded last year.
The Stuttgarter Zeitung reported another study involved testing fumes on 25 humans.
A Volkswagen Group statement said: “Volkswagen Group explicitly distances itself from all forms of animal cruelty.
“Animal testing contradicts our own ethical standards ... we know that the scientific methods used by EUGT were wrong and apologise sincerely for this.”