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Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess made the vow in a letter sent to the German branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
PETA publicized the announcement on Monday. The animal rights group said Volkswagen will "never again use animals in testing unless required to do so by law" and will include the new ban in company's code of conduct that will be updated later this year.
The New York Times reported in January that the automaker funded a study in which macaque monkeys sat for hours in airtight chambers watching cartoons while inhaling diesel emissions from a Volkswagen Beetle and an old pickup truck. Diesel emissions experiments on monkeys were also documented in the new Netflix investigative series Dirty Money.
The macaque tests were carried out by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, a contracted laboratory based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The vehicle happened to be rigged with the Volkswagen's emissions-cheating software, which led to its notorious 2015 "dieselgate" scandal.
"Research projects and studies must always be balanced with consideration of ethical and moral questions," Diess wrote in the letter to PETA, as quoted by The New York Times. "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."
Diess also said in the letter that the studies did not violate local laws.
PETA, which vigorously protested the experiments, celebrated the news.
"Volkswagen did the right thing in pledging not to conduct tests on animals, which are irrelevant to human health and not required by law," said PETA senior vice president Kathy Guillermo 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."
Volkswagen is still climbing out of its emissions scam, in which the company installed a "defeat mechanism" in up to 11 million cars to ensure that the engine did not pollute during government tests. Affected cars emitted up to 40 times the legal amount of nitrogen oxide when driven outside the laboratory. VW has paid out $31 billion due to the scandal.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."