Volkswagen Used Monkeys in Emissions Tests

An exposé by the New York Times found that Monkeys have been used in emissions tests for Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler and commissioned by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT). The tests were carried out at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute on 10 monkeys in 2014.

The news of these tests became public knowledge after VW had to admit in 2015 to manipulating 11 million cars worldwide to food the regulatory tests, making it appear as though they met the nitrogen oxide emissions limits, when in fact they didn’t.

The New York Times reported the findings, highlighting the previous ventures led by VW to European leaders, claiming that diesel vehicles were cleaner than petrol. However, The New York Times reports that 72,000 people died prematurely in 2012 as a result of nitrogen dioxide poisoning, which primarily comes from diesel vehicles.

They also report that VW took the lead in the experiments, funding the tests to be carried out the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute that used 10 cynomolgus macaque monkeys, which are commonly used in medical experiments.

The article says that it is believed: “[VW]company engineers supervised the installation of a treadmill that would allow the vehicles to run on rollers while equipment sucked exhaust fumes from the tailpipes. The gas was then diluted and fed into chambers containing the monkeys. To keep the animals calm during the four hours they breathed in fumes, lab workers set up a television showing cartoons.”

Unfortunately, these types of tests with animals have been carried out for decades. In the book The Monkey Wars by Deborah Blum, she talks of her visit to the California Regional Primate Research Centre in 1984. Here she witnessed hundreds of cages with thousands of monkeys used for tests. “Scientists were doing air pollution studies, testing the effects of toxic chemicals on the lungs of baby monkeys.”

Beagles, horses, pigs and many different species of primates have been used in air pollution tests due to similarities in parts of their anatomy that is similar to humans. Monkeys are commonly used because of their close heritage to humans. In the cosmetics and beauty industry, rabbits and rodents are often used. Rabbits are chosen because they don’t have tear ducts, meaning they can’t cry harmful substances out from their eyes. They need little maintenance, making them affordable for companies to test on, breed quickly and are easy to handle. Animals being treated as disposable commodities is completely unjustified, with such barbaric practices holding no place in the world we live in.

Knowing that VW have tested on animals, would you still be inclined to purchase a BMW, VW or Daimler car? The emissions testing scandal is mentioned in a new Netflix documentary Dirty Money, which you can watch here.


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