Volkswagen Vows to Stop Funding Experiments on Animals

Volkswagen Vows to Stop Funding Experiments on Animals
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German automaker Volkswagen is vowing that it will stop using animals to test the effects of diesel exhaust, as it tries to distance itself from an emissions-cheating scandal that involved helping to finance experiments on monkeys. [1]

Volkswagen announced the decision in a letter to the German branch of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

In the wake of the emissions-cheating scandal, Volkswagen has paid out tens of billions of dollars in settlements, fired company heads, and even arrested and jailed some of those officials.

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The automaker illegally rigged software on millions of vehicles to give the impression that they complied with pollution standards. Volkswagen touted diesel fuel as an environmentally-friendly alternative to gasoline, even as governments in Europe and elsewhere are increasingly restricting its use.

Volkswagen earned itself a second black eye when it was revealed that it, along with other German automakers, had financed research on the health effects of diesel exhaust by forcing 10 macaque monkeys to breathe in the dirty air while trapped in airtight containers, outraging animal lovers and advocates around the globe.

The cruel tests were conducted at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, a contracted laboratory based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [2]

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Volkswagen’s CEO, Herbert Diess, wrote in the letter to PETA that the company’s decision to ban animal testing was ethically questionable, but insisted that the carmaker did not violate any U.S. laws. [3]

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“Research projects and studies must always be balanced with consideration of ethical and moral questions. 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.”

PETA praised the decision to stop testing on primates and called on other companies “to follow suit and embrace modern and humane, animal-free research methods instead.”


[1] The New York Times

[2] EcoWatch

[3] Consumer Affairs