Outrage over exhaust tests on humans and monkeys

Germany's carmakers are once again in the headlines: BMW, Daimler and VW reportedly created a research group tasked with testing the impact of car exhaust on humans and monkeys. Commentators are incensed and slam the companies' lack of morals, hoping that researchers will learn a lesson from the scandal.

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De Telegraaf (NL) /

Completely intransigent

Clearly the carmakers are incorrigible, De Telegraaf concludes:

“One can only wonder at how careless the managers have been with the trust of the customers, the state and the shareholders. 'Made in Germany' was once the rock-hard image of the carmaker, the cornerstone of Europe's strongest economy. The diesel scandal rocked Volkswagen to its very foundations. ... Later it emerged that there had been secret price agreements with suppliers. ... Now managers are behind bars, Volkswagen's big boss must answer to a court, and the politicians in Washington, Brussels and Berlin are upping the pressure. But the carmaker's self-cleaning technology is still inadequate.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

A nasty reminder of Germany's past

The mere idea of supposedly scientific experiments being carried out with monkeys or even humans as guinea pigs is intolerable for Germany's conscience, philosopher and Germanist Angelo Bolaffi explains in La Repubblica:

“For historical reasons that can be summed up with Arendt's metaphor about the 'banality of evil', and also for cultural reasons. No modern nation has tested the painful contradiction between the irresistible power of technology and the romantic dream of a civilisation defending itself against technological advances like Germany has (and paid the price for it). ... This is why Angela Merkel's horror over the alleged experiments on the toxicity of the gases are an expression of the painful consciousness of Germany's past 'that won't go away' [Ernst Nolte quote] (and that should not go away).”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

New rules needed for carmakers' research

The scandal could change the way pollutants are researched, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung hopes:

“ It's only right that those who continue with such bed partners must put up with being asked such critical questions. But who knows, perhaps the discussion can help to put the funding for research into environmental pollutants on a better foundation. Because the idea that those who do the polluting should contribute to research into the impact on humans, animals and the environment is not flawed. However, sensible organisation is needed to ensure that although the polluters can take part in the discussion about what is researched, the decision as to how the financial resources are used is made by a neutral body.”