Locked in Chambers and Forced to Inhale Diesel Fumes

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According to an article in The New York Times, after the World Health Organization started classifying diesel exhaust as a carcinogen, Volkswagen took a lead role in paying for a cruel inhalation experiment on macaque monkeys.

Monkeys imprisoned in laboratories are subjected to painful and traumatic procedures. 

The animals were locked in chambers and forced to inhale diesel fumes from an old pickup truck and a Volkswagen Beetle for four hours. Then, a tube was thrust down the monkeys’ windpipe so that the experimenters could collect pieces of their lungs. According to the study report, the animals were stressed due to the frequent and violent examinations.

Primates in labs are usually confined to small, barren cages that are nothing like the vast wild habitats they would otherwise live in.

Not shockingly, the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI), where the experiment was carried out, is just as immoral as Volkswagen: The contract laboratory is known for violating the laws that are supposed to give the animals imprisoned there some sort of protection.

  • A monkey at LRRI who "experienced adverse complications" stopped eating, but the attending veterinarian was not consulted, and the monkey was eventually found dead in the enclosure.
  • An anesthetized dog suffered respiratory arrest and died when his lungs overinflated because the equipment wasn't used correctly.
  • Six guinea pigs suffocated to death when they were tightly packed into a small enclosure for transport and left there for nearly an hour.

In 2011, LRRI was cited for six violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act—including the strangulation death of a monkey who got caught on an experimental jacket and for an infant monkey who escaped.

These highly intelligent and social animals are being deprived in barren laboratory enclosures for what? Biological and genetic differences between monkeys and humans mean the results of these experiments are USELESS when it comes to predicting human responses to something like inhaling diesel exhaust.

Monkeys trapped in labs suffer severe emotional deprivation, social isolation, and psychological stress.

Even if these tests weren't useless—like if they actually were helping humans in some way—it wouldn't matter. Animals are not ours to mutilate, imprison, abuse, or kill. It's that simple.

Every year in the U.S., more than 105,000 primates are imprisoned in laboratories, where they are abused and killed in invasive, painful, and terrifying experiments.

Volkswagen has “apologized” for this experiment and promised to never conduct emissions testing on monkeys again. But when asked by PETA to pledge never to conduct ANY tests on animals or pay others to carry out such testing again, it refused.

Tell Volkswagen to pledge never to conduct experiments on animals again.

Volkswagen Group
Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

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