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Marti Kheel passed away

Dear Friends,

I am writing this, devastated by grief, to let you know that we have lost our beloved Marti Kheel.

Marti was an ecofeminist thinker and theorist. She was a generous and articulate voice for the animals, women, the environment, the earth, for peace and harmony for all.

As I am still processing this, I find it difficult to write much about her now, but there is much to say.

You may visit her website:  to find out more about her. You may also want to visit her facebook page to read some of the outpourings of tribute and grief from some who knew her or knew about her:

Marti was struggling with leukemia for several months and those close to her have been blessed to read her "Caring Bridge" journal entries which were always so uplifting and inspirational, brilliant and, even, funny. Each time I got an email that there was an entry in the journal, I would hesitate to go to the page, always fearing the worst. And now, last evening, it came. I share with you the following entry by her sister Jane:

Dear friends of my sister,

I am so deeply sad to tell you that Marti passed away today. She was planning already her next entry on Caring Bridge, but was unsure how to fit in the part about her health declining.

Marti's amazing achievement this week was that just two days ago she appeared as a guest at a Yale Medical School class on alternative and complementary medicine taught by her doctor. She was awesome and made a deep impression on the students. I wish she were here to tell you all about it.

Please know that she died peacefully in her sleep. She was a dear, gentle soul. We will miss her so.

I will be in touch with you when I have more information about arrangements for a memorial, both on the East and West Coast. Please be patient if you don't hear from me right away.

Marti's sister, Jane


P.S. I also want to share with you a moving tribute to Marti by Norm Phelps, a leader in the animal rights movement, which, I believe, says it best:

This is an unimaginable loss. I am so sorry�for her family and friends, for the larger community of those striving to create a human society grounded in compassion and nurture, and for the victims of oppression and exploitation for whom she was a caring and courageous voice for so long. In her case, the clich� is true�the world is a greater place because she was here, and a lesser place because she is gone.


biography of marti kheel

Marti Kheel was born in New York City in 1948. For as long as she can remember she was drawn to other�than�human animals. At the age of twelve she performed her first protest on behalf of animals when she turned her back to the camera in a family photograph that excluded her beloved cat, Booty�tat. In 1973 she became a vegetarian after a series of unnerving experiences in restaurants and grocery stores made her increasingly aware of the living beings that constituted "meat." Four years later, while living in Montreal, she joined the grass�roots organization Animal Liberation Collective, which introduced her to a wide spectrum of animal abuse issues. As she became increasingly aware of the horrific treatment of other�than�human animals on farms and in society at large, she became a vegan.

After relocating to California, she co�founded Feminists for Animal Rights (FAR) in California in 1982, hoping to bridge the divisions between the feminist and animal advocacy movements. In the same year, she developed a slideshow illustrating the commonalities in the ways women and other�than�human animals are viewed under patriarchal society. Adopted by FAR, the presentation has since been shown throughout the United States and abroad. Over the years, FAR grew into a national organization with regional offices throughout the United States and even abroad. Although FAR is not currently active, the message of the link between the abuse of women and other�than�human animals continues to inspire people.

Kheel's articles have been translated into multiple languages and have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Her groundbreaking 1985 article "The Liberation of Nature: A Circular Affair" offered the first feminist critique of environmental ethics. Originally published in Environmental Ethics, the article has been widely cited and republished in several edited volumes. Along with many of her other articles, this essay has been required reading in numerous college courses. It also laid the foundation for the future focus of her work at the juncture between animal advocacy and environmental ethics.

Kheel's 1989 article "From Healing Herbs to Deadly Drugs: Western Medicine's War Against the Natural World" provided the major inspiration for a historic lawsuit filed by University of Toronto professor Franklin D. Tall against the Canadian government. Kheel provided expert�witness testimony in the suit, which charges the government with religious�based discrimination against holistic forms of healing. The case is still pending final judgment.

Over the years, Kheel's primary goal has been to develop an ecofeminist holistic philosophy that can bridge the seemingly disparate movements and philosophies of feminism, animal advocacy, and environmental ethics. Drawing on the model of holistic health, Kheel believes that ecofeminism offers the possibility of a genuinely holistic way of perceiving the world. By shedding light on the root causes of social problems, ecofeminism can help us to deepen our capacity for empathy for all living beings, thereby helping to bring about a world of peace and respect for all living beings.

Kheel received her doctorate in religious studies from the Graduate Theological Union. In 2008, her book Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective was published by Rowman & Littlefield. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), University of California, Berkeley.

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