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German Carmakers Take a look at Emissions On People And Monkeys
01 February 2018, 12:51 | Gordon Grant
German Carmakers Criticized for Emissions Research on Monkeys
Three German manufacturers - BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen - have admitted to funding an emissions test, which took place in 2014 in New Mexico, US, which forced caged monkeys to breathe in exhaust fumes.
The German government said on Monday that any auto emissions testing on monkeys or people were unjustifiable. Barbara Hendricks, the German environment minister, described the experiments as "abominable".
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.
According to The New York Times, the court documents - which have not been made available and have not been viewed by CarAdvice - confirm that a European research group funded by Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW and Bosch, had contracted an American organisation to use macaque monkeys in tests devised to prove that newer dieselvehicles were far cleaner than older examples.
Volkswagenapologised for the experiment this week, acknowledging "the misconduct and the lack of judgment" of research undertaken on behalf of vehicle companies. The company's supervisory board, in the meantime, has also ordered a probe into who ordered the tests, even as the German government calls the research "unjustifiable". The university had followed typical procedures, such as approval by an ethics commission as well as written consent from each participant, it said.
"We believe the animal tests in this study were unnecessary and repulsive", Daimler said in a statement.
Amal Johal, director of consumer action and group litigation specialists Your Lawyers, said: "How does a global corporation think it can continue to get away with another act of fraud?"
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The statement was released at a time when the experiments with monkeys, but not those with humans, were publicly known.
Human test subjects, however, were still involved in a separate emissions study that the three German automakers were said to have been aware of.
The car-maker-supported research is likely to have been in response to the World Health Organization report and an attempt to challenge evidence it had compiled, but the decision to conduct test on animals and even humans seems extreme and raises potentially damaging moral and ethical dilemmas.
Kraus told the press that the experiment in question was instead actually aimed at examining the effects of emissions levels at workplaces. The goal of one of the studies was to determine the health effects of diesel exhaust fumes in the workplace, such as those of mechanics and welders.
News of the medical test in Germany has awakened uncomfortable memories of the Third Reich.
Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said the tests must be "investigated completely and without reservation", the dpa news agency reported.
Revelations about the companies' experiments on people came just days after the New York Times wrote about similar they funded involving monkeys in the U.S.in 2014.
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