Volkswagen pledges to end experiments on animals

Volkswagen financed research on the effects of diesel exhaust on 10 monkeys

By Energía16

05/06/2018

Volkswagen, the largest automaker in Europe, is currently in the eye of the hurricane. The company is trying to get through a scandal involving toxic emissions and animals. In this sense, the brand has pledged to never perform experiments on animals again… specifically with monkeys.

The New York Times states that Volkswagen was involved in cheating, by illegally rigging the software on millions of vehicles. The goal was to make it seem as if they complied with pollution standards. This scandal also caused a major shift in the public’s perception of diesel. A few years ago, the fuel had been promoted as an environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline. However, governments in Europe and elsewhere are increasingly restricting its use.

The recent scandal involving the brand is related to a series of documents (and videos). These documents prove that the company financed research on the effects of diesel exhaust on 10 monkeys. The experiment involved spewing the gases at 10 macaque monkeys in airtight chambers. Of course, the information fueled disputes between environmentalists and protectionists. Under this pressure, the brand announced it will end experiments on animals.

Furthermore, the brand sent a letter to PETA reaffirming it will move to abandon this practice. In reality, this evidence was brought to light five months ago. The experiment involved forcing the monkeys to inhale the diesel fumes emitted by an old van and a VW Beetle for four hours. Protesters took Volkswagen’s headquarters and more than 160,000 PETA supporters sent emails on this matter.

Terror Lab

According to a statement issued by PETA, the inhalation experiment was carried out at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI), a laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This state is notorious for its chronic violations of animal-welfare laws. PETA notes that after the monkeys were forced to inhale automobile exhaust at LRRI, a tube was thrust down their windpipes through their noses or mouths to collect lung tissue.

Protesters showed signs depicting monkeys and the words “Don’t hurt us” at these rallies led by PETA.

“Volkswagen did the right thing in pledging to no longer conduct tests on animals. These tests are irrelevant to human health and not required by law,” said Kathy Guillermo, a senior vice president at the group. “PETA is calling on other carmakers that still test on animals to follow suit and embrace modern and humane, animal-free research methods instead.” “Monkeys deserve to be respected and left in nature. They should not be bred for experiments or captured from their homes in the wild and shipped internationally. Much less locked inside chambers, and forced to inhale diesel fumes,” she continued.

The New York Times indicates that the company’s chief executive Herbert Diess questioned the ethics of the decision to experiment on monkeys. Nonetheless, he sustained that these studies were conducted in the United States and did not break any local laws. “Volkswagen explicitly distances itself from all forms of animal abuse. In the future, we will rule out all testing on animals, as long as there are no pressing — such as legal — reasons that would make this necessary.”

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