Volkswagen has apologised after reports surfaced that the company forced monkeys to breathe diesel fumes as part of its reseatch in to emissions.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that a secret US study saw monkeys forced to breathe diesel exhaust fumes from old and new cars in 2014 to prove modern vehicles are less harmful to the environment.
The study reportedly compared exhaust fumes and particulates with a then-new diesel-powered VW Beetle with those of an old Ford ute. Commissioned by VW, BMW, Daimler and Bosch, the project took place before news of VW’s diesel emissions cheating broke in 2015, and its results have never been made public.
Volkswagen apologised for the experiment this week, acknowledging “the misconduct and the lack of judgment” of research undertaken on behalf of car companies.
“We're convinced the scientific methods chosen then were wrong,” the car maker said.
“It would have been better to do without such a study in the first place.”
Animal activist group PETA reportedly contacted VW to criticise to the “physical suffering and psychological torment” inflicted on animals in the US-based tests.
Daimler, parent company to Mercedes-Benz, issued a statement distancing itself from the study’s “unnecessary and repulsive” methods.