J. R. Hyland
The death of J. R. (Regina) Hyland from breast cancer is shocking, not only because it was so sudden or that she was still relatively young (only 64), but because she seemed so vital. I first came across her work when I was in graduate school, working on a master's thesis on Christianity and animals. Her book The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts
was a passionate, ironic, and scrupulously biblical examination of the moral growth of the Israelites, and a call for moving beyond the paradigm of animal sacrifice that governs religious sanctioning of vivisection, hunting, and eating meat.
Later on, at the cusp of starting Lantern Books in 1999, Carol Adams
and Regina suggested I publish The Slaughter
, and I readily concurred—with two conditions: first, that we add some of the other essays she had written on the topic for her periodical, Humane Religion
, and, second, that we change the somewhat visceral title. The result in 2000 was a book double the size and now called, meekly if accurately, God's Covenant with Animals
. This book has continued as a mainstay in PETA's catalogue as a wonderfully straightforward introduction to Christianity and animal rights, and long may it continue to do so.
The rest of this blog, I hand over to Karen Davis
, also a Lantern author, and founder of United Poultry Concerns
, to whom those wishing to remember Regina can make a donation on her behalf.
. . . I found her book, God's Covenant with Animals: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of All Creatures, published by Lantern Books in 2000, to be an extremely compelling and invaluable argument concerning the place of animals in the Bible and I quoted from it on page 88 of my book The Holocaust and the Henmaid's Tale, also published by Lantern Books.
I am honored and profoundly grateful to Regina for requesting that donations to her memory be made to United Poultry Concerns, and I am deeply honored and pleased to know that United Poultry Concerns was one of Regina's favorite organizations.
We corresponded a few times and Regina became a strong supporting member of UPC almost as soon as we started in October of 1990. On November 4, 1993, I purchased the original version of God's Covenant with Animals entitled The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts: A Biblical Basis for the Humane Treatment of Animals. That title and book and its follow-up continue to inform and strengthen my outlook and the work of United Poultry Concerns. Thank goodness that Regina wrote as she did and that she died peacefully, but what a loss her death is for all who knew and loved and needed her.