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German Automakers Under Fire for Tests on Humans, Monkeys

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Jan. 30, 2018—The German auto industry has received a firestorm of criticism this week, due to reports that diesel exhaust tests were carried out on both monkeys and humans in 2014.

The chairman of Volkswagen said on Monday that tests involving monkeys were “totally incomprehensible,” and the German government condemned the reported experiments, as well as others involving human volunteers, according to the Associated Press.

The New York Times reported that a research group funded by major German auto companies commissioned experiments in which a group of monkeys was exposed to diesel exhaust from a late-model Volkswagen, while another group was exposed to fumes from an older Ford pickup. The experiments were carried out in 2014, prior to when Volkswagen was caught using software that allowed vehicles to cheat on emission tests.

Furthermore, on Monday, the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper reported that the now-closed research group also commissioned tests in which humans were exposed to nitrogen oxides, a class pollutant. The group reportedly said the tests showed no effect on the subjects.

The German government has condemned the reported tests on humans and animals, and one official called for the companies concerned to provide “immediate and detailed” responses.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, said that “the disgust many people are feeling is absolutely understandable,” and added “tests on monkeys or even humans can in no way be ethically justified.”

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