Stop Torturing Domesticated 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. Paula Pope says:

    Mr. Vilsick, It is Obvious that Many People Oppose De-Glanding Skunks. What Humans Won’t Do? Is there Anything they won’t do to Alter, Abuse, Research, Torture Animals Because they Can!?? That is the Defense Mechanism God gave that Animal, Who Are We to Decide out of mere Convenience to take that Away! It’s Wrong on Every Level and I know you know this. So the Question remains: What Will You Do!?? Do the Right Thing! These Animals Don’t have a Voice!!!

  2. well said, paula

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