THE BLOG
02/17/2008 06:30 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Uno, the Beagle and 2008 Westminster Dog Show Champion and Experimental Subject #A6472, the Beagle

They are both Beagles. Both purebreds. They both have the same square cut muzzle, the same cute black, gumdrop nose, the same large earnest eyes and the same big, silly, floppy ears.

Beagles are known for their gentle and "merry" disposition, they are excellent with children and get along with other dogs. Uno was particularly noted as being "a precocious package of personality."

But there is a big difference between Uno and Experimental Subject #A6472. Uno has been loved, pampered and praised since the moment he was born. In fact, Uno won the most important praise in all of dogdom, The Westminster Dog Show. For the rest of his life, Uno will be oohed and awed over, fed the best food, sleep in the softest of beds, showered with love and attention. In short, Uno has lived and will continue to live a wonderful life.

Experimental Subject #A6472 lives in a cage. He doesn't even have a proper name. It makes it easier on the lab workers not to "humanize" him otherwise they wouldn't be able to conduct their often painful and sometimes cruel experiments on him. Experimental Subject #A6472 could pass for Uno's twin but a momentary glance into his deep, dark brown eyes would show only the despair and hopelessness of a creature who has never known a soft touch or a kind word. On a typical day, Experimental Subject #A6472 is pulled out of cage by the scruff of his neck and carried over to a cold, sterile steel table and given yet another injection to test the toxicity of a chemical for the FDA.

Experimental Subject #A6472 is a surrogate for direct human testing and beagles are the favorite test subject of labs across the country and around the world because they are passive and easy to handle. Sadly, that didn't seem to matter to some lab workers employed by the Huntington Life Sciences Labs in the UK, who were secretly filmed punching their beagles in the face and screaming at the dogs as they were held by the scruff of their necks, whimpering and moaning during the abuse. Most labs boast that they care for their test subjects and keep the suffering to a minimum. But medical research laboratories are stressful environments and certainly not a place for such social animals who strongly bond with humans and crave our attention. Dogs who are raised, experimented on and killed in laboratories live sad, short, lonely and unloved lives.

So the question remains, how can we celebrate and honor the Beagle, Uno, while at the same time use the beagle, Experimental Subject #A6472, like a piece of meat? There are thousands of Unos who sit in cold, small steel cages, living day after monotonous and terrifying day, being poked, prodded, cut and restrained. How does one beagle become man's best friend and a champion to boot while the other becomes a lab experiment?

Would anyone allow Uno to be whisked away for medical research? No? Well then, what did Experimental Subject #A6472 do to deserve his fate?