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Monkey testing reveals the noxious air of German industry

来源:FT中文网    2018-02-06 07:10

        In 2014, Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW financed an experiment in which caged monkeys were forced to watch cartoons while inhaling fumes from a Volkswagen Beetle. The car manufacturers’ aim was to show that the nitrogen dioxide emissions found in exhaust fumes are harmless to humans — even if the opposite had already been scientifically proven.        2014年,大众(Volkswagen)、戴姆勒(Daimler)和宝马(BMW)资助了一项实验——多只猴子被关进玻璃罩,一边观看动画片,一边被迫吸入一辆大众甲壳虫(Beetle)汽车排出的尾气。这些汽车制造商这样做的目的是为了证明汽车尾气中的二氧化氮对人类无害——即使科学早已证明了事实恰好相反。
        Netflix broke the story in Dirty Money, a documentary aired last week. Since then, the companies have rushed to apologise. They have sought to distance themselves “in the strictest terms” (Daimler); expressed regret that they “hit the brake too late” (BMW); and have accepted blame for actions that were “wrong, unethical and repulsive” (VW).        Netflix不久前推出的一部名为《Dirty Money(肮脏的金钱)》的纪录片曝光了该实验。自那以来,上述几家公司纷纷出来道歉。他们试图以“最严厉的措辞”与此事划清界限(戴姆勒);对“踩刹车太迟”表示遗憾(宝马);愿为“错误、不道德和令人厌恶”的行为接受谴责(大众)。
        And rightly so. But the scandal represents much more than primates being exposed to exhaust fumes. It reveals just how quickly the strength of German car manufacturers can become a fatal weakness. Where was the debate over the ethics? Or an effective compliance team? And, more fundamentally, where was any sense of historical awareness?        认错是对的。但这一丑闻所代表的东西远不止是将灵长类动物暴露在尾气中。它暴露出德国汽车制造商的优势可以多么迅速地变成致命弱点。围绕伦理道德的争论哪去了?有效的合规团队在哪里?更根本的是,还存在一点点历史敏感度吗?
        German engineers have always sought technical excellence. But for a decade, at least, this has come at the expense of the ethical dimension. These latest revelations are only the most recent scandal: two years ago, VW admitted installing software in its cars that artificially lowered nitrogen oxides levels during testing.        德国工程师一直在追求技术上的卓越。但至少过去10年,这种追求是以牺牲伦理道德为代价的。最新曝光的事情只是最近的一起丑闻:两年前,大众还承认在汽车上安装了软件,在尾气测试过程中人为降低了氮氧化物水平。
        Yet despite the current global outcry, only one person at Daimler has so far been suspended, while Thomas Steg, VW’s chief lobbyist, has fallen on his sword.        然而,尽管目前全球都在抗议,戴姆勒只停了一人的职——大众首席游说专家托马斯•施特格(Thomas Steg)主动要求停职。
        This is not enough. The car manufacturers must do much more if they are to regain public trust. First, it does not help to claim that the animal experiments took place before the diesel emissions scandal became public. Although the car companies had known about the experiments for years, they remained silent. No internal investigations have been launched, nor has EUGT — the diesel lobbying organisation funded by VW, Daimler and BMW that commissioned the research — come under the spotlight. To hope that nobody would notice is not only naive; it contradicts the principles of compliance that carmakers had agreed to follow in the wake of the diesel scandal.        这并不够。要重获公众信任,这些汽车制造商必须要做更多。首先,声称这些动物实验发生在柴油排放丑闻被曝光之前并没有什么帮助。虽然这些汽车公司多年前已经获悉这些实验,但它们一直保持沉默。目前还没有展开任何内部调查,由大众、戴姆勒和宝马出资赞助的柴油游说机构、这项涉事研究的委托者——欧洲运输业环境与健康联合会(EUGT),也没有被置于聚光灯之下。希望没有人会注意到不仅是天真的,还违背了汽车制造商们在柴油丑闻后已经同意遵守的合规原则。
        Second, there is the scientific dimension. According to international ethical standards, animal and human experiments are only acceptable if scientific progress cannot be achieved otherwise. The more sophisticated the animal, the stricter the standards.        第二,要考虑科学伦理因素。根据国际伦理标准,只有在无法通过其他途径获得科学进步的情况下,使用动物和人体做实验才是可接受的。使用的动物越高等,标准越严格。
        Experiments on monkeys are rarely allowed today — and then mostly in the pharmaceutical industry and only for the benefit of human health. Under the rules, it is ethically questionable to attempt to test for the opposite — examining how much less damage is caused to human or primate lungs when new technology is used.        如今,使用猴子做实验很少获得允许——这样的实验大多是在制药行业,而且纯粹以促进人类健康为目的。按照这些规则,试图为了相反的目的做实验——测试新技术的使用对人类或灵长类的肺器官造成的损害降低了多少——在伦理上是站不住脚的。
        A test series could be acceptable, but only if the parameters are set correctly. But this was not the case. Emissions were tested with a manipulated exhaust system, a fact that was concealed from researchers. Compare this with a second series of experiments at the University of Aachen, also financed by EUGT, during which people were exposed to low concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. This was approved by the university’s ethics committee, but in retrospect also looks questionable.        一个试验系列可以被接受,但前提是参数设置正确。但事实并非如此。尾气是通过一个被做了手脚的排放系统进行测试的,研究人员当时不知道这一事实。此外还有同样由EUGT资助的亚琛工业大学(University of Aachen)的另一系列实验——人类志愿者被暴露在低浓度的二氧化氮中。这项实验到了该大学的伦理委员会的批准,但回过头来看它也是站不住脚的。
        Finally, it is hard to believe that nobody rang the alarm when the experiments were proposed — especially at VW, which was founded 80 years ago by the German Labour Front under the Third Reich and has always claimed to be sensitive to its history.        最后,令人难以置信的是,没有人在这些实验获提议时感到不妥并提出异议——尤其是大众汽车,这家80年前由“德国劳工阵线”(German Labour Front)在第三帝国(Third Reich)时期创建的汽车制造商一直声称对自身历史很敏感。
        This is the most worrying part of the debacle. It is not only an example of engineers being misled and a comprehensive failure of management. The scandal is also evidence of the moral degradation of Germany’s corporate elite.        这是这桩丑闻中最令人担忧的部分。这桩丑闻不仅仅显示出工程师受到了误导、管理全面失败,也暴露了德国企业精英的道德堕落。
        The writer is the author of ‘Regierung ohne Volk’        本文作者著有《Regierung ohne Volk(没有人民的政府)》一书。

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