Lab chimps laugh and hug at first taste of freedom

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 14:45

VIENNA, Austria - September 7, 2011 - The emotional moment a group of chimpanzees saw daylight for the first time after being kept in a laboratory for their whole lives has been caught on film.

The video shows the animals edging out of the door hesitantly at first and looking curiously up at the sky.

But they then appear to celebrate their newfound freedom by hugging each other and laughing.

The 38 chimps were taken from their mothers shortly after they were born and kept in a research facility in Austria.

They were used for tests based on diseases such as HIV and hepatitis and kept in isolation.

They were rescued in 1997 after the pharmaceutical company behind the research was sold, and taken to a farm where keepers have since tried to reintroduce them to the outside world.

It is only now that experts felt the time was right and the chimps were ready to experience fresh air.

The chimpanzees’ reactions are much the same as ours might be at seeing the outside world for the first time, after 30 years in captivity and HIV experiments - cautious, curious and jubilant. They do appear to be laughing and hugging in celebration, emotions that may not be entirely unique to the human race. One chimp is standing and walking upright in a human-like stance.