Volkswagen conduct toxic air tests on monkeys to promote "dirty diesel"

Volkswagen alleged to have rigged experiment with monkeys to show safe level of emissions

The best way to tackle pollution is to return to a fact-based debate about its causes, but that effort has suffered a significant setback due to the news of the study involving monkeys, he said.

VW has already apologized for the experiments conducted on monkeys.

Documentation uncovered by the New York Times specify a freakish decision taken by VW during 2014.

A German government spokesman on Monday denounced the experiments by a research group financed by Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW, saying such tests can not be ethically justified. The university had followed typical procedures, such as approval by an ethics commission as well as written consent from each participant, it said. Over the weekend, Volkswagen apologised for the misconduct and lack of judgment of some individuals, calling the trials a mistake.

"We are convinced that the scientific methods chosen at the time were wrong". "And it comes on the tail of the emissions scandal, which was ethically problematic in the first place".

The now defunct European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector, known as EUGT - whose budget consisted entirely of funds from the three automakers - didn't do research of its own, but rather commissioned academics to produce reports that might paint diesel in a favourable light, the Times report says.

Daimler on Sunday condemned the studies, done by the same research body which sponsored another experiment forcing monkeys to inhale toxic exhaust fumes from a polluting diesel Volkswagen equipped with illegal software.

For VW, the logic it wanted validated was obvious; German automakers eager to sell greater volumes of their turbodiesel engines in the world's most important auto market (North America).

The study was carried out in 2014 by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but unsurprisingly it was never concluded or published. This, unfortunately, is where the testing methodology went awry - badly. These innocent animals should not be the ones to suffer for corporate greed.

All in all, ten monkeys and some 25 healthy human beings are reported to have been subject to the experiments. It was always going to be a public relations disaster once the public found out. In an additional twist, the Beetle model used in the test was among the vehicles that were rigged to conform to test limits, The New York Times reported.

VW is no stranger to controversy following the 2015 dieselgate scandal where the carmaker admitted fitting software created to cheat emissions testing to 11 million vehicles.

But the institute, which has conducted research with monkeys, dogs, rabbits and other animals for more than 20 years, has been criticized in the past for its management practices by some animal rights organizations, particularly by Stop Animal Exploitation Now, or SAEN, a national group headquartered in Ohio.

'Volkswagen Group explicitly distances itself from all forms of animal cruelty.

The three companies involved in the experiment have been quick to condemn it.

'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, ' government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference in Berlin.

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