Volkswagen apologizes for rigging data, using monkeys in diesel emissions test

The Volkswagen BUDD-e concept vehicle is on display at the 2016 International CES, in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 5, 2016. On Saturday, the German car manufacturer apologized for rigging scientific data and using live monkeys in a diesel emissions test. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI

Jan. 29 (UPI) — Volkswagen AG apologized for manipulating a scientific study that used monkeys to test diesel fume emissions from a rigged vehicle.

The apology comes after a New York Times report revealed that the German car manufacturer in 2014 paid for a study through the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector, or EUGT in the German acronym, to show that diesel emissions from its latest Beetle model were less harmful than before.

That study, conducted in a lab in Albuquerque, N.M., put 10 monkeys in an airtight compartment as a Volkswagen Beetle emitted diesel fumes into the space. But the Beetle that the German car manufacturer sent to the Albuquerque lab was rigged to produce favorable results in the lab.

Although the findings of the study were never published, Volkswagen apologized for funding it.

“Volkswagen Group explicitly distances itself from all forms of animal cruelty. Animal testing contradicts our own ethical standards,” the company said in a statement on Saturday, according to Deutsch Welle. “We ask forgiveness for this bad behavior and for the poor judgment of some individuals.

“We are convinced that the scientific methods chosen at the time were wrong,” the statement added. “It would have been better to forgo such a test from the very beginning.”

According to Dirty Money, a recently released Netflix documentary series that reported on Volkswagen’s manipulation-testing, veteran Volkswagen engineer James Liang, personally drove the Beetle used in the Albuquerque study to the lab and requested real-time access to the data.

Liang was sentenced to 40 months in prison last year for his role in Volkswagen’s previous scandal involving diesel-emissions manipulations.


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