The United States federal government comprises the executive branch, which includes the president, his or her delegates and cabinet-level agencies; the legislative branch or Congress, which consists of the elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives; and the judicial branch, or court system.
Responsibility for implementing and/or enforcing federal law rests with a number of regulatory and research agencies. Many of the agencies with influence on the use of animals and/or alternatives in regulatory toxicology are located within the US Department of Health and Human Services, while others operate independently. In addition, two key interagency bodies have been established to coordinate programs and activities of mutual interest.
The US system of regulation and oversight of animal care and use for testing and research consists of patchwork of legislative, regulatory, and guidance tools independently established and overseen by various federal agencies and independent scientific bodies.
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) are the two government entities that work cooperatively to comprise the ‘national validation center’ for the United States.
In addition to the 3Rs advancement efforts of certain US federal agencies and NICEATM/ICCVAM, many independent nonprofit and academic centers also operate with similar mandates.