To help demonstrate that their diesel engines were safe, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW sponsored diesel fume tests on humans and monkeys.
VW apologized for the monkey testing, which was performed by a lobbying group for the automakers. A VW Beetle had its diesel exhaust fumes pumped into a sealed enclosure where 10 monkeys watched television.
As part of VW’s apology, it staid in a statement, “we are convinced the scientific methods chosen then were wrong. It would have been better to do without such a study in the first place.”
Daimler said it’s beginning an investigation into the trail, and BMW is attempting to distance itself from it as well.

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According to reports, humans were also part of this testing procedure.
The Volkswagen Beetle used in the test was one equipped with the emissions defeat device which allowed the car to pass emissions regulations on a dyno but be more toxic out on the streets. It’s likely that the fumes inhaled by both the monkeys and the humans weren’t as toxic as the fumes the car would normally produce.
This testing, the report said, was to help show lawmakers that diesels were clean and that politicians didn’t need to mull over bans for such vehicles.
Automotive News