In January, we learned that BMW, Daimler (parent to Mercedes-Benz), and Volkswagen were funding lab tests that forced monkeys and humans to breathe diesel fumes. Why? To undermine a 2012 decision by the World Health Organization that classified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen. All three companies produce huge numbers of diesel vehicles, so of course, they don’t want anything to disrupt their business.
Ironically, these experiments began in 2014, just one year before the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal drove a nail deep into diesel’s coffin. Less ironically, the experiments were conducted in the U.S., where there are significantly fewer restrictions on animal testing.
But despite public outcry and cratering diesel sales, the tests have continued. Now, Volkswagen has finally agreed to stop using animals to assess diesel exhaust–presumably in an effort to salvage what’s left of its dodgy reputation. CNBC reports:
Herbert Diess, the carmaker’s chief executive, questioned the ethical decision to conduct experiments on primates, even though he maintained that the studies, which were carried out in the United States, did not violate local laws.
“Research projects and studies must always be balanced with consideration of ethical and moral questions,” Mr. Diess wrote in the letter. “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.”
He added that the company would add the new standard to its code of conduct this year and that it would apply to all 12 of Volkswagen’s brands and all 640,000 of its employees.
Score one for LGBT vegan car nerds (like me!).