Global Condemnation Over Painful Monkey Experiments Included Colorful Protests, Appeals From Scientists and Celebrities, and Hundreds of Thousands of Petition Signatures
For Immediate Release:
June 4, 2018
Tasgola Brune 202-483-7382
Herndon, Va. – Five months after it was revealed that carmaker Volkswagen (VW) had funded an experiment in which macaque monkeys were locked inside a chamber and forced to inhale diesel fumes emitted from an old pickup truck and a VW Beetle for four hours, the company informed PETA Germany that it will no longer conduct any tests on animals unless required to do so by law. This action follows protests by PETA Germany at the company’s headquarters, and e-mails from more than 160,000 PETA supporters to the company.
The inhalation experiment—carried out at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI), a contract laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, notorious for its chronic violations of animal-welfare laws—and VW’s refusal to commit to using only non-animal test methods drew swift and widespread public condemnation. A demonstration outside the company’s global headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, featured a bloodied VW logo and a protester dressed in a monkey costume who was seemingly forced to inhale exhaust fumes. Other protesters held signs with pictures of monkeys alongside the words “Don’t Hurt Us.” German celebrities Martin Brambach and Christine Sommer wrote to VW to express their “sense of betrayal” over its refusal to enact a policy banning elective experiments on animals.
“Volkswagen did the right thing in pledging not to conduct tests on animals, which are irrelevant to human health and not required by law,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on other carmakers that still test on animals to follow suit and embrace modern and humane animal-free research methods instead.”
PETA notes that after the monkeys were forced to inhale automobile exhaust at LRRI, a tube was thrust down their windpipes through their noses or mouths to collect lung tissue. Monkeys—including the individuals exploited in VW’s experiments—are highly intelligent animals who form intricate social relationships, experience a wide variety of emotions, and can suffer exactly as humans can. They deserve to be respected and left in nature, not bred for experiments or captured from their homes in the wild, shipped internationally, locked inside chambers, and forced to inhale diesel fumes.
VW’s letter to PETA Germany is available on request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.