Stop Torturing Skunks By Removing Their Scent Glands

Target: Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Demand an end to the cruel practice of de-glanding domestic skunks.

Skunks have become increasingly popular pets across the United States. It is perfectly legal to own one in at least 17 different states–including Florida, Massachusetts, and Ohio. One of the most notable differences between domesticated and non-domesticated skunks is that domestic skunks typically lack scent glands. When domesticated skunks are between two to five weeks of age, they undergo a painful procedure known as de-glanding, in which the natural scent glands located near the skunks backside are completely removed. The de-glanding of a skunk is on par with other controversial practices such as declawing a cat or debarking a dog, and exists simply because it is easier for the owner to deal with a de-glanded skunk.

Even worse, this procedure strips the skunk of its natural born defenses. When a skunk feels threatened, it will “shoot” a defensive spray from its scent glands at whatever the threatening presence is. This spray–an organic compound containing large amounts of sulfur–has a noticeably bad smell that might induce itchiness and nausea. By removing these scent glands, we are rendering these wild animals totally defenseless. Skunks also do not have the same navigational skills as cats and dogs do and, so if a domestic skunk runs away or gets loose, it will likely not be able to find its way back home again. Without scent glands, these skunks will be practically helpless and at the expense of their surroundings.

Altering an animal to make our lives easier is fundamentally wrong, especially when it involves stripping a wild animal of its natural defenses. Sign this petition to demand an end to de-glanding of domestic skunks.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

In 17 states across America, wild skunks are domesticated and kept as pets. Many, if not all, of these skunk owners participate in a procedure that removes the glands through which skunks “shoot” their defensive spray. The purpose is simple; to prevent owners from having to deal with the smelly substance that skunks emit when they are scared. But in doing so, owners are also stripping these wild animals of their only natural defense.

When a skunk feels vulnerable or threatened, she will spray a concoction of foul smelling organic compounds in the direction of the threat in hopes of deterring the predator from coming any closer. Without scent glands, this natural defense mechanism is rendered totally useless. Not only is it wrong to strip a wild animal of its protection, but it can also be potentially dangerous for the skunk. Since skunks don’t have great navigational skills, if a pet skunk gets loose it might not find its way home. This means the skunk would be forced to battle the elements without its only source of self-defense.

We are asking you, Mr. Vilsack, to please ban this cruel practice of de-glanding pet skunks. It is not just to alter an animal’s evolutionary adaptations to make our own lives easier.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Tomfriedel


  1. Raymond Stevens says:

    Why do fucking humans think they got the god given right to do the fucking awful shit they do to animals for their fucking pleasure? Instead of deglanding skunks we need to spay and neuter fucking humans so stupidity and selfishness doesn’t breed the walking scum it does.

  2. Betty okrent says:

    All animals deserve respect and kind treatment and are not put on this earth for the pleasure or use or convenience of human beings.

  3. RESPECT ANIMALS THE SAME WAY THAT YOU LIKE TO BE RESPECTED! Hopefully humans will pay soon for so much cruelty to others living beings.

    • Julia Edinger says:


  4. Why get an animal and then try to alter it to fit some stupid notion you have about animals? The scent gland is the skunk’s protection from predators and there is no reason on this Earth that justifies removing the gland. If you can’t stand the scent then don’t have a skunk, a wild animal that shouldn’t be a pet to begin with! Don’t cater to idiots, ban this horrid practice.

  5. First of all, there is absolutely no reason you need to own an “exotic” animal as a pet. That is EXACTLY what disgusting SeaWorld and zoos do to animals. If zoo’s are not set up for GENUINE conservation and rehabilitation, they are simply CRUEL!! Makes me sick the stupidity and arrogance of humans!!! Due to their scent glands, animals like skunks do not make good pets, yet some idiotic humans think it would be cute to own one. This is merely the human EGO needing to be seen as “amazing and different” for owning something exotic – and getting likes on FB or Instagram UGH – no just makes you SELFISH AND STUPID!!! There is a REASON Skunks have that scent – to protect itself from predators. Spade and neutering animals for population control is necessary, de-scenting to live comfortably with an animal is simply CRUEL AND UNNECESSARY!!! Animals do get loose out of the home, happens all the time with dogs cats etc…you know, normal pets…you are sending that de-scented skunk to it’s death if it gets out. I feed a colony of stray cats, along with many skunks (who think they are cats) they are very used to people and have never had an issue. However a few weeks ago, one skunk was particularly ornery and I got sprayed very badly by him – was standing right over him and was drenched in the scent. It was a tough ride home lol…but honestly it was no big deal to shower, rinse my clothes and car out. Scent was gone in minutes, and about 24 hours out of my car. My point is, I’d suffer getting sprayed any day than ever think to descent a skunk just to make my life easier, or live with it in my home. It’s like severing a dogs vocal cords or declawing a cat…It’s unbelievable how insensitive and selfish humans are!!!! If you can’t take the scent they don’t belong in your home. Leave these innocent adorable skunks alone and in the wild where they belong.

    • Cathy Dalgleish says:

      It may be ego in some people like it is to own exotic animals & other domestic pets. I don’t like a lot of exotic animals being caged for pets. That is egotistic & inhumane. It’s selfish & stupid for people that are not informed to be passing judgement. Yes, spaying & neutering is a need for control, but it’s harder on an animal than de-scenting a skunk. It’s better to give a skunk a long, pampered, loved life & support to a human. It’s twofold. I’m helping the lives of skunks everywhere. It’s not that we are being insensitive, cruel, stupid or selfish. Many of us educate on why skunks are beneficial to the environment & to not be destroyed as pests or something to be feared. I don’t like the fact that wild skunks have a short lifespan in the wild or suffer from disease or that they are shot or trapped as a nuisance animal or trapped & killed for lab animals & fur. People need to fight harder for more serious issues like actual cruelty, neglect & abuse of animals. I educate on the necessity of wildlife. Climate change is what’s endangering nature. Use your focus & energy to make a difference in the world’s future for animals & humans. Everyday a species disappears. Fight to get better gun control. Help a child that is hungry or fighting a serious disease.

    • American Girl says:


    • Therese Kutscheid says:

      When I read something like that it makes me mad and at the same time sad. Mad because there are so many dumb idiots who don’t know better use for their money but to buy exotic animals in the name of preservation.
      Sad for the animals because they are not left alone.
      There are gazillion cats and dogs that are being trow away because they are not what their owner thought they would be.

  6. Shirley Lemieux says:

    I was not aware that surgically removing a skunks defense system was legal until i read this petition. I do know that a skunks only defense from predators is their ability to spray. I find it cruel to remove the glands that produce their smell just to satisfy the human owner. It is a very selfish human decision. I do not agree with removing a skunks glands and therefore support this petition.

  7. CHERYL HUGHES says:

    These animals should not be kept as pets anyway. Leave them alone, in their natural environment, IN THE WILD, IN THEIR NATURAL ENVIRONMENT…problem solved. Make it ILLEGAL to own these little guys. Any injured skunks can be sent to a legitimate animal sanctuary if unable to be released.

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