Published on February 16th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair


Volkswagen Gassed Monkeys To Try And Show Their Diesels Were Healthier

Volkswagen is no stranger to scandals. Just as the scars of dieselgate begin to heal, we get something much more ethically questionable.  In one sentence: they’ve been gassing monkeys with diesel emissions, humans too, to a lesser extent.

Here’s a condensed version of the whole thing.

In 2012, a report by the World Health Organisation found that diesel emissions were carcinogens. Being heavily invested in diesel technology, three German carmakers begin funding the European Research Group of Environment and Health in the Transport Section (EUGT) to investigate these claims further.

One of those companies was Volkswagen.

The EUGT, in turn, hired the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute to conduct a few tests, comparing the emissions from an older diesel with those from a modern ‘Clean Diesel’ Beetle. In 2014, they put 10 monkeys in locked enclosures and funneled diluted diesel emissions from those cars into the chambers.

The whole experiment, on top of being ethically questionable, was completely unreliable, as the Beetle they used was fitted with the ‘defeat device’ that started the whole dieselgate scandal in the first place.

What’s more, a recent report from Bild Daily showed that even with the defeat device, which reduces emissions when the car detects it’s being tested, the emissions from the Volkswagen Beetle TDI had worse results. The monkeys fumed with VW diesel emissions showed a higher degree of oral and respiratory inflammation than other animals.

At this point, you may be a little disgusted, but it gets much worse. If you’ve got Netflix, go watch that new series, ‘Dirty Money’. A US-based Volkwagen exec, Stuart Johnson, openly admits that the company was discussing gassing humans. They scrapped that plan, but the fact that it was even brought up is disturbing.

EUGT did end up experimenting on human beings, having 25 healthy people inhale nitrogen dioxide.

While the funding to EUGT did come from various companies, the tests that have come to light seem to show Volkswagen the most direct influence over the design of the tests. Part of the deal also gave them access to real time updates on the experiment, which shows they must have known about it and can’t just push blame away.

The episode on Netflix also shows that most of the German top management was aware and actively discussed the cost-to-benefits of using the defeat device that ended up in 11 MILLION vehicles worldwide.

Here are links to more in-depth articles so you can judge for yourself. And of course, there’s that Neflix documentary, Dirty Money.

As a Malaysian with little to no access to VW TDI products, you may be thinking this is not an issue that affects you. But consider how high up these unethical moves were made, and the fact that they were blatantly doing unacceptable things to lie to customers and the government, just to sell more cars.

CNN coverage:

New York Times coverage:

Stuart Johnson, whistle blower, dieselgate scandal:

Commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day:

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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