© Reuters. Tests on monkeys and humans: VW suspends a responsible
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p) said on Tuesday it had suspended its director of public relations, Thomas Steg, with respect to the case of trials on the effects of emissions of exhaust gases that have been conducted on monkeys and humans.
The German automaker is said to have accepted the proposal of Thomas Steg to assume full responsibility of these trials, conducted in 2014, and the existence of which was revealed Friday by the New York Times.
Jens Hanefeld, responsible for political issues of international and european Volkswagen, will assume the interim director of public relations, said the manufacturer.
The tests were performed by the european Group of research on environment and health in the transport sector (EUGT), mandated by the German automobile manufacturers according to the daily american. The EUGT was dissolved last year.
During these tests, the research monkeys were forced to inhale the fumes of diesel from a Volkswagen. The purpose of the EUGT was to defend the use of the diesel after the world health Organization (WHO) has identified the fuel as a carcinogen, according to the Times.
Monday night, the chairman of the management board of Volkswagen ag, Matthias Müller, said that the studies conducted on monkeys and humans were “immoral and disgusting”.
“The methods used by the EUGT in the United States were bad, they were immoral and disgusting,” said Matthias Müller at a reception new year Monday evening in Brussels, reacting for the first time to the revelations of the daily american.
“I regret that Volkswagen has been involved in this case as one of the sponsors of the EUGT”, he added.
“In the course of the weekend, we understood once again that we still had a lot to do to regain the lost confidence,” added the chairman of the management board.
“We have to live with setbacks and face them”, he continued, stating that the article in the New York Times showed that Volkswagen needs to improve its ethical standards.
According to the New York Times and the Stuttgarter Zeitung, the body of research was entirely funded by Volkswagen, Daimler (DE:DAIGn) and BMW (DE:BMWG). The three manufacturers have denounced these tests as early as Saturday.
The Stuttgarter Zeitung, for its part, reported on Sunday that the EUGT had commissioned a scientific study on the effects of nitrogen dioxide – found in the exhaust gas on human guinea pigs, approximately 25 young people in good health.
The German government called Monday these tests, whether performed on men or monkeys, and”unjustifiable”.
(Maria Sheahan; Jean-Stéphane Brosse and Eric Faye for the French service)