It is extremely difficult to take an educated stand on the issue of animal testing when there is so much conflicting data and bias on both sides.  Some argue that animal testing is inefficient and that scientists are being lazy, sticking with what has been done before, instead of searching for new and better alternatives.  With an industry like cosmetics, that naturally is all concerned with image, it also becomes a problem to distinguish whether a company is actually concerned about the issue of animal testing or whether they want to build a certain type of image.  For instance, the Body Shop is tauted for their no animal testing policies, but there are articles on how the Body Shop has allegedly gotten around these rules. For instance, on animal people news, there is a 1994 article explaining how Body Shop has built its reputation on being animal friendly, for instance not using products that have been tested on animals in the last five years.  Yet unknown to consumers this claim does not mean much when 'animal testing of new products is often done more than five years before they hit the market; by purchasing ingredients from wholesalers who don't develop new products and therefore don't do any testing; and by circumvention' the Body Shop gets around its policies. Another way to circumvent its principles is by listing an ingredient as a pharmaceutical as the Body Shop only claims it has banned animal testing on cosmetics ingredients.

Another prominent company Procter & Gamble is a subject of debate.  Is a bad guy because it tests on animals or is a good guy who is doing all it can to move out of the animal testing phase.  According to One Voice, P&G is not a reputable company.  Yet another site,, which is also pro-animal rights praises P&G for what they have accomplished instead of what they have not: In a 1998 article, it says 'in 1984, P&G agreed to phase out animal testing as rapidly as possible, and agreed to fund the development of alternatives. P&G has since spent more than $65 million in the effort, more than all other institutions combined, and has cut its own use of animals in half while tripling in size. By the year 2000, P&G has spent approximately $100 million in developing alternatives to animal testing'.  Also at this time, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive,and animal advocacy groups were pushing a bill to to require testers of consumer products such as household chemicals, cosmetics, and pesticides to use federally approved alternatives to animal testing. 

The internet not only allows access to arguments from all sides of an issue, but it is also dynamic, providing new and up to date sources all the time.  In Canada, the introduction of an ingredient listing on cosmetic products (2002-11-27Ingredient Listing - Proposed Amendment to the Cosmetic Regulations/ Divulgation des ingrédients - Modifications proposées au Règlement sur les cosmétiques) and the possibility of a new bill being passed to advance animal rights are some of the new things happening in the field of cosmetics.  On many of the Animal Rights groups web sites there are media centres and these are also great resources to check for information on specific subjects.

What exactly are cosmetics?  Who knows what vivisection is?  It is important to know the definitions of words, both old ones we take for granted and new ones that may have a particular connotation in their field.  Yet even more than words, translators need a good grip on the ideas surrounding their work. If ethics ever enter into translation, this would be a prime example of a dilemma - Do you translate "Not Tested On Animals" and similar claims, when you know they are not true?  There are also legal issues, such as any ingredient listed on a cosmetic product that is not in the INCI but rather in an English variant, must according to law, be translated into French as well.