Volkswagen (VW) has promised to no longer conduct experiments on animals following revelations the company tested the effects of car exhaust on monkeys, The New York Times reported.
The company announced its new stance on animal testing in a letter Monday to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which coordinated a public campaign to pressure VW into acting.
“Volkswagen did the right thing in pledging not to conduct tests on animals, which are irrelevant to human health and not required by law,” PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said in a statement. “PETA is calling on other carmakers that still test on animals to follow suit and embrace modern and humane animal-free research methods instead.”
VW is struggling to pay off billions in settlements and penalties after the company was caught cheating emissions standards. The German automaker is also working to restore its public image after the scandal resulted in several top executives going to prison. (RELATED: Another Top Exec Indicted In The Scandal That Has Cost VW More Than $30 Billion)
While uncovering VW’s “dieselgate” scandal, investigators found evidence that the automaker, along with several others, funded research that involved locking 10 macaque monkeys in a room that was then pumped full of vehicle exhaust for four hours, according to TheNYT.
The test was rigged to make breathing diesel emissions appear far less dangerous. After VW was caught and pled guilty to federal fraud and conspiracy in the U.S., the company payed $26 billion in fines.
“Research projects and studies must always be balanced with consideration of ethical and moral questions,” VW CEO Herbert Diess wrote in the Monday letter, according to TheNYT. “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.”
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