Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers, has suspended a chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, amid allegations that the company funded tests on captive macaque monkeys. These tests reportedly involved exposing the macaques to diesel fumes within an enclosed space for several hours.
The tests, which took place in 2014, were brought to the surface in a Netflix documentary titled ‘Dirty Money‘, a series that focusses on corruption within the corporate world.
Matthias Mueller, CEO of Volkswagen Group, said that “[Volkswagen is] in the process of investigating the work … and drawing all the necessary consequences. Mr. Steg has declared that he will assume full responsibility,”.
The test was commissioned by ‘EUGT’, or European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector, a now-defunct company that was entirely funded by three German automakers: Damilar, BMW, and Volkswagen. EUGT didn’t perform any tests themselves, but rather brought in scientists and researchers on their behalf.
The ‘research’ took place in New Mexico in 2014, and focussed on forcing 10 macaque monkeys to inhale fumes from a diesel Beetle in a sealed room. The monkeys were exposed for four hours. To compare, the researchers then did the same using an old Ford truck, also a diesel. Similar tests also took place using willing human subjects.
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