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German carmakers tested diesel fumes effect on people, monkeys via academic research

German carmakers tested diesel fumes effect on people, monkeys via academic research

In a related development, German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung reported on Sunday that EUGT also sponsored scientific experiments testing nitrogen dioxide, a gas found in exhaust fumes, on people.

Funded by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, and carried out at Aachen University Hospital, doctors studied the health effects of "short-term nitrogen dioxide inhalation by healthy people".

While the monkey experiment itself was conducted by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, based in the United States of America, the $730,000 (£516,000) worth of funding required came indirectly from VW, BMW and Mercedes via a not-for-profit organisation the three manufacturers set up called the EUGT.

In what seems like a John Henry versus the steam shovel-style competition to dig diesel's grave, Volkswagen has admitted to funding (and subsequently cheating on) animal testing to prove the relative safety of diesel exhaust fumes, according to findings by the New York Times. It's also a new low since the 2015 exposure of VW's cheating on diesel emissions tests that saw 11 million vehicles equipped with software to evade regulators.

Several studies carried out by the British, French and German governments show that diesel cars made by nearly all European manufacturers produced more pollution far above what is permitted by law.

"These tests on monkeys or even humans are in no way ethically justified", said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert. Instead, it has shed unwelcome light on the methods that the carmakers had used to influence political debate.

What this means is, in the 2014 experiment, the monkeys thankfully weren't getting a full blast - not that they had it easy.




Product and scientific testing on animals remains a common method around the world, although the practice is not the norm for the automotive industry.

VW, while apologizing for the tests, insisted it "explicitly distances itself clearly from all forms of animal abuse".

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. "It would have been better to do without such a study in the first place", the Wolfsburg-based carmaker said in a statement.

The monkey experiments also provided another example of how Volkswagen used software to hide emissions of nitrogen oxides that were far above limits allowed by law. "We will clarify how the L.R.R.I. study came about and have launched an investigation", the company said in a statement, referring to the Albuquerque lab. "Daimler does neither tolerate nor support unethical treatment of animals".

'We distance ourselves from the LRRI study done under EUGT.

"The level of deceit perpetuated by the Volkswagen group is beyond comprehension and amounts to one of the largest corporate scandals of all time". And in 2016, VW agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to resolve claims from consumers and the USA government.

Despite not influencing sales, the damage to VW's image as a responsible corporate citizen has not been immaterial as the group reported a fantastic 2017 sales year - nor have the fines payable to U.S. administrators, which total a tidy $4.3bn.

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