Skunk Water: How Cops Are Using It Against Protesters

Unrest exists around the globe. To that end, skunk water is becoming an increasingly popular tool for the police to use against protesters, as reported by the BBC. While the severity and cause of unrest can vary from one part of the world to the next, the fact remains that cops are going to do everything in their power to quell protests and riots.

Skunk water is proving to be extremely effective. However, as is often the case with effective measures for dealing with protesters, skunk water is not without a significant amount of controversy.

What is skunk water? As the name implies, skunk water is foul stuff, reports Reuters. Some victims of the spray have compared it in stench and lingering qualities to raw sewage. Developed by a company known as Odortec, this substance was first utilized against protesters in 2008 in the West Bank. It can be administered by an armored vehicle with a powerful hose. Although the complete list of ingredients remains a mystery, Odortec swears everything in the product is made from food grade substances, and that it is also one-hundred percent green-friendly. What is known for certain is that the ingredients list includes baking powder, water, and yeast. That doesn’t sound like much, but this concoction is capable of staying with surfaces and skin for as long as several days. Those who have experienced skunk water have claimed that the odor followed them around for days, even weeks.

Other reports claim skunk water contains the parts of dead animals.

Police and military officials who have experience with skunk water swear by it as a non-lethal/humane approach to riot control. It is becoming more and more popular as an alternative to such commonly well-known methods for riot control as the rubber bullet, tear gasses, or even live ammunition. Many believe that it solves the ethical dilemma inherent in using those options.

Nonetheless, the skunk water substance has drawn harsh criticisms from the press, from those who have experienced the spray firsthand, and others. One of the main arguments against skunk water concerns the notion that its use has been disproportionate to its necessity for use. Some have complained that this product is used to extraordinary degrees, since it technically doesn’t kill anyone. There have even been incidents in which specific homes were targeted. In addition to this, the stink of the substance creates a notion of everyone being punished for the actions of some. In terms of getting the smell off, some have said that tomato juice is an effective means of dealing with it.

[Getty Images via Pacific Press / LightRocket]