Mafism – A Diet Which Excludes Mammal Meat

The core premise behind mafism, a dietary practice in which mammalian meat is excluded, is that mammals are special and deserve exemption from the human diet. Surely, this requires no elaboration. Mammals, humans included, are the only kind of animal that grow up snuggling to their mother’s breast. All mammals – and only mammals – love to nuzzle and cuddle, and develop personalities and the capability to love other individuals. Neither reptiles, fish nor birds have these characteristics. In a personal encounter, the type of mammals commonly eaten as food in the West – cows, pigs, sheep – will try to make friends with you, and eating something that bonds with you is unconscionable. Eating mammals such as dogs, cats, cows, horses, monkeys, pigs, sheep, elephants, or whales is therefore tantamount to cannibalism and will be refrained from. Poultry and fish, however, not being mammals, can be eaten at will. It so happens that exempting mammals eliminates most of the unhealthy red meat from the diet, so mafism makes sense also to those who are interested in vegetarianism for the health benefits, rather than out of a sense of empathy for animals.

The Mafist Manifesto


A considerable number of people are, consciously or not, dissatisfied with the conventional Western diet because it relies heavily on mammal meat – beef, pork, mutton, and lamb. This dissatisfaction arises because mammals have special traits that endear them to us – not surprising, since mammals are, in taxonomic terms, family. Therefore, the eating of mammal meat can easily be considered tantamount to cannibalism, which in fact is already the established perception regarding the consumption of dog or cat meat.

Yet the only commonly known alternative to the conventional Western diet thus far has been vegetarianism, or the even more extreme veganism, in which not only mammal meat, but all non-plant matter is abstained from. Vegetarianism or veganism is notoriously difficult to observe for someone used to a conventional Western diet. Therefore, it is thought that a considerable number of people remain eaters of mammal flesh simply because of a lack of a viable and suitable alternative. Mafism comes to the rescue, providing a conceptual framework for those who wish to abstain from the eating of mammal meat without going to the extreme of becoming purely herbivorous.


Mafism, unlike vegetarianism, is easy to adhere to, and one can switch to a mammal-free diet overnight without experiencing a significant degree of inconvenience. It is even possible to eat at McDonald’s with coworkers or the family: while everyone else chows down on burgers and fries drenched in beef tallow, the mafist can derive ample satisfaction from either a chicken burger or the Filet-o-Fish. Unlike a vegetarian or vegan, a mafist can easily gain the understanding and cooperation of family, coworkers, and friends, and participate without awkwardness in social occasions. Most importantly, since ample protein can be derived from dishes featuring chicken, turkey, or seafood, the mafist will experience almost no cravings for the dishes that are being abstained from.

Meanwhile, since few people have the ability to bond with chickens or fish, the guilt factor of consuming animal meat is reduced to a negligible level. One could argue that, in zoological terms, the human body was designed to consume meat, and mafism permits one to do just that without regret or guilt. Forsaking mammals but not poultry or seafood is, arguably, the most harmonious way for one’s primeval instincts and one’s intellect to coexist.


Many people will argue that all animals, including birds and fish, have the right to life, and that, while mammals may be special, mammals are not fundamentally different from mollusks, insects, crustaceans, reptiles, amphibians, fish, poultry, and so on. Mafism disagrees with this; mammals are fundamentally different and deserve to be exempted from the human diet because all mammals are individuals, and, as such, special. This is a crucial difference: mammals, unlike sardines, locusts, or chickens, deserve to be treated as individuals, rather than as anonymous components of a species. As such, mammals enjoy a special status in the pantheon of species, very similar to that of human beings. With very few exceptions, only mammals develop distinct personalities discernable as such to humans.

Another point often raised is that humans can form strong bonds with non-mammals. That is true, but in the case of non-mammals, the bond is a one-way bond: the human loves the fish (or whatever) and the fish (or whatever) hangs around the human because it wants to be fed or because it is being kept captive in a glass container. However, in the case of mammals, the potential exists for a two-way bond. The mammal may or may not depend on the human for food, but in either case, the relationship is not necessarily limited to food. Now, there may be some exceptions – such as parrots or macaws, perhaps. However, parrots or macaws are not on the menu to begin with, so question is academic to begin with.


Discrimination is a dirty word, but discrimination is necessary if a value system is to be created and maintained. For instance, one must discriminate against the remainder of one’s species when selecting a spouse – i.e. elevating one individual above all others. Mafism understands this inherent human need to draw a line, and chooses to draw the line at the boundary of mammmaldom.

Conversion to vegetarianism, the traditional method of abstaining from mammal meat, automatically forces the adherent to accord the same status to, say, a rabbit and a squid. While the idea of not taking any life may be beautiful in principle, in practice it is impractical and meaningless to limit one’s diet to plant matter. This is perhaps why only a tiny fraction of the population of the industrialized world is vegetarian. In fact, despite the best efforts of vegetarians, the meat industry has been growing faster than the vegetarian community. Clearly, vegetarianism is not proving itself to be a viable solution for most people – and the primary reason is that it does not discriminate between mammals (cows, dogs, horses, whales, sheep) and non-mammals (fish, reptiles, crustaceans, mollusks, insects).


Kindly note that mafism is not about saving mammals or alleviating their suffering. It’s about a personal choice, ergo: since I am uncomfortable with the idea of consuming the flesh of a fellow mammal, I will refrain from it, in the same way other people refrain from the consumption of human flesh. Hence, if you’re comfortable eating the flesh from the cadaver of a cow, mafism will make no efforts to try and stop you. Mafism is not about changing the world; it is about enabling those who are not comfortable with the conventional diet to find an alternative that works for them. Hence this website is not about persuading potential converts, but about enhancing awareness of the fact that a third option does actually exist. For too long, people have felt that they had only two alternatives – either a conventional all-animal diet or a purely non-animal vegetarian diet, both of which belong to the extreme ends of the spectrum. If the former is the thesis and the latter the anti-thesis, mafism is the perfect synthesis.


The problem with vegetarianism and veganism as far as health benefits are concerned is that, while these diets bring considerable benefits, they also entail potential risks: vegetarians and vegans are at greater risk of nutritional deficiencies in certain areas, and there have been cases of malnutrition attributable to a conversion to vegetarianism. Although there is no danger if proper advice is obtained when making the switch, the risk of malnutrition is a turn-off for many who might otherwise take the plunge. New converts to vegetarianism often fret that feelings of exhaustion or depression might be attributable to the lack of meat in their new diet.

Meanwhile, the problem with vegetarianism for those who seek these lifestyles out of consideration for animals is that, while the dietary change is most often motivated by empathy for the suffering and fate of livestock (mammals such as cows, pigs, and sheep) the puritanical definition of the concept of vegetarianism forces adherents to value all forms and levels of animal life equally and, as a consequence, refrain from the consumption of animals for which they have little empathy – such as fish or fowl. Thus, the new converts to vegetarianism find themselves in a situation of having to suffer for a cause they do not fully believe in, and as a result, often lapse back into their old habits.

Another problem is that, although some societies – notably the US and India – have a well-established vegetarian culture, in many countries of the world vegetarianism is not well-established, and the efforts required to maintain a vegetarian diet are often far out of proportion to the spiritual or mental soothing derived from the practice. Mafism allows those who follow it to enjoy the benefits of both an unrestricted traditional omniverous diet and vegetarianism, without any degree of effort or sacrifice. Fish or chicken dishes can be had just about anywhere, in addition to dishes featuring only ingredients derived from plants. Often, the stock of a vegetable soup will have been prepared using fish or chicken bones; a problem for vegetarians, but not for mafists.

Lastly, since vegetarianism assumes that all animal life is equally worthy of respect, the practice of vegetarianism is somewhat incongruous, especially in the context of life in an industrialized country. Any form of transportation causes insects and worms to be killed or harmed by the thousands throughout the course of the day; therefore, vegetarian principles are not upheld even by the strictest adherence to a vegan diet.


The biggest problem with the philosophy of vegetarianism is that it assumes factory farms and the suffering of animals can be eliminated if the idea of a vegetarianism spreads and everyone becomes vegetarian. This is unrealistic in the extreme, since the vast majority of people would never make what is for them a drastic sacrifice in their lifestyle. As a result, despite the best efforts and sacrifices of millions of vegetarians, the vegetarian movement has made only a tiny dent in the industrial-sized consumption of meat products churned out by factory farms. Mafism, being a non-fundamentalist and easy alternative to the traditional Western diet, has the potential to make far more of an impact on the meat industry and its odious practices than vegetarianism.


There is proof that many vegetarians struggle greatly to adhere to a purely vegetarian diet, and that is a dubious product called “veggie meat” – a substance fabricated out of plant matter but which looks and tastes remarkably like meat. This is consumed in great quantities by a large number of vegetarians and vegans. Now, this may not apply to those who may seek to pursue mafism out of the sole desire to lower their cholesterol, but for mafists who have chosen mafism out of a feeling of solidarity with mammals, veggie meat is a vile, twisted substance that is neither needed nor wanted.

Imagine that your Uncle Doug just passed away. But instead of burying or cremating his body, you and other relatives drag his corpse to the kitchen, dismember it, and eat it bit by bit, via stews and burgers. Gross, right? Well, how much less gross is it if you bury Uncle Doug, but get someone to make a realistic replica of his muscle tissue, which you then proceed to put in stews and burgers?

For a mafist, the practice of mafism is devoid of personal sacrifice; mafists enjoy observing mafism and do not struggle to remain mafist. Mafists have no desire to partake of mammal meat any more than they desire to eat human meat, for a mafist considers the eating of mammals to be tantamount to cannibalism. To a mafist, the very idea of veggie meat is abhorrent because it seeks to replicate something that is inherently disgusting as a food product – the flesh of a fellow mammal.

Yet many vegetarians, while looking down with contempt on mafism and those who practice it, will casually wolf down enormous quantities of this product. Who exactly has the more horrid diet here? For a mafist, a veggie burger is only slightly less horrifying than a real burger. Veggie meat might be interesting for young children who are amused by gore and guts – it seems there is a type of candy which resembles an eyeball and is popular amongst 9-year-old boys – but as a component of the adult diet, veggie meat is a self-defeating oxymoron that mafists do not need.


Having said all that, vegetarians and vegans are to be admired for their achievements. If you seek to pursue vegetarianism out of respect for all animals, as do the followers of Jainism or Hinduism, and you are sufficiently motived, and you think it is within your ability to attain a vegetarian or vegan diet, choosing mafism would be a setback. Those who would otherwise succeed in attaining the status of vegetarian should not modify their objective because of this website. If you want to try to become a vegetarian, by all means, go for it! This website supports you 100 percent. Mafism is not for you; mafism is better suited for those who have tinkered with vegetarianism and found the road too tortuous or the sacrifices not worth the rewards. Mafism is for people who are disgusted with themselves for eating meat – for whatever reason – but who nonetheless have not succeeded in altering their diet.


Any zoologist will tell you that human beings are primates that are designed – engineered, if you will – to hunt other animals including mammals and to eat their meat (in addition to consuming vegetables). However, human culture and civilization has developed to the extent that our intellect urges us to refrain from eating animals – whether out of empathy for the animals involved, or for reasons related to cardiovascular health. Consequently, our intellect will try to prevent us from engaging in the traditional Western diet – replete with steak, sausage, ham, roast beef, bacon, etc. while our instinct – the inherent desire to eat animal products rich in protein – rebels if our bodies are pushed to a vegetarian diet. Now, such stoicism – absolute control of mind over matter and the consequent elimination of all meat from the diet – may be appropriate and necessary as a religious or spiritual process, but it is not easy for those who have numerous other concerns in their life – a career, a family, a social life – and who consequently have priorities other than dietary matters. In other words, it is not always practical or important enough to push the body all the way to vegetarianism. That’s where mafism comes in: unlike vegetarians, mafists experience little difficulty balancing the antagonistic demands presented by instinct and intellect. A mafist can satisfy both her instincts and her intellect without any significant effect on her career, family or social life.


The idea of a diet such as espoused by this website is actually not new. In Buddhist pre-modern Japan, the eating of four-legged animals was considered taboo – and that pretty much ruled out mammals. While modern Japanese tuck into beef steaks and stir-fried pork as much as the people of any other nation, the dishes served at restaurants specializing in traditional Japanese cuisine are in perfect compliance with a diet based on the non-consumption of mammals. While vegetarians often have to make do with substandard fare, especially when on the road, those who opt for mafism may remain gourmets and continue to savour the sophisticated delights of the finest kitchens in the Orient and, to a lesser extent, the Occident.


Some people in the West describe themselves as “ovo-lacto-pisco vegetarians,” meaning that they will eat only plant matter, dairy products, eggs, and fish, or “ovo-lacto-pisco-pollo vegetarians,” meaning that they will also eat chicken meat. However, such descriptions inevitably invite derision and anger from true vegetarians. The problem has largely been one of semantics. The term “vegetarianism” is defined as a pure diet consisting exclusively of non-animal produce. Thus, one cannot be considered a vegetarian if one consumes even an iota of chicken or fish.

Unfortunately, this strict definition of vegetarianism has set the bar too high, making it far too difficult for many people to change their diets. Name games and lack of recognition from the vegetarian community is one reason why many who wished to take baby steps towards a different diet have not been able to do so – instead of feeling better after forsaking the hated beef and pork, they found themselves despised by vegetarians, and actually felt worse than before, despite making a serious and drastic change in their dietary habits. Perhaps this website, by defining adherence to a mammal-free diet as a unique practice not part of vegetarianism nor part of a traditional diet, will help those who previously toyed with the idea of forsaking mammal meat to do so with renewed energy and enthusiasm.


The term “mafism” may be relatively new, but the concept of considering mammals as a group of special animals is not. In fact, empathy for mammals has long been part of the values in most civilizations.

Cultural works which deal with human bonding or empathy with animals inevitably deal with mammals. This is not to denigrate non-mammals; it just means that culturally, mammals have been held more dear to the human heart. For example, while a tuna fish may be every bit a magnificent a creature as a horse, no-one has written a book entitled “Silver Beauty”. While chickens can be considered to be beautiful in their own right, no-one has written a book entitled “The Silence of the Chickens.”

All animal life is wonderful and amazing in its splendor and complexity – but so is all plant life. For humans, mammals are special because they are family – something that other animals, no matter how beautiful, are not. And therein lies the crucial difference.

Frequently Asked Questions


MAmmals FIrst. The dietary practice is called “mafism” – lower case M – and one who practices it is a “mafist.” The terms are lower case M because mafism, like vegetarianism, is not a religion.


Mafism is not about a set of laws that you must follow, with things you are or are not allowed to do. It is about finding a middle road, between a traditional Western diet and vegetarianism, that is comfortable for you. If you are comfortable with the idea of eating mammalian dairy products, by all means, go ahead. As mammals, we are designed to sustain nourishment from mother’s milk, so the idea of consuming products made from the milk of other mammals is not inherently contradictory to our nature.

If you are interested in mafism out of a sense of empathy for mammals, you may not be totally comfortable with the idea of consuming butter, cheese or milk, because the animal that produced it very probably spent its life in a factory farm under horrendous conditions and suffered tremendously. You may be comfortable, however, eating (for example) hand-made goat’s cheese, since goats typically are allowed to graze naturally and lead fairly normal lives.

Here’s a suggestion. If the only dairy products available to you have been produced by factory farms, you may feel more comfortable if you opt for a vegetable alternative if there is one (margarine instead of butter, or soy milk instead of cow’s milk, if you are shopping for products to be consumed in your home) but to consume the real thing if there is no alternative, rather than abstain completely. Mafism should be comfortable to adhere to for the mafist who practices it – whereas vegetarianism is commonly accepted to entail a considerable degree of discomfort, sacrifice, and endurance, mafism is for those who seek a diet they can be comfortable with and adhere to without much inconvenience.

In any case, you should not opt for mafism because this website or some other source has denounced mammalian meat as ill-suited for human consumption, but only because you yourself feel that excluding mammal meat from your diet is the right thing to do. Similarly, you should do whatever is comfortable for you regarding dairy products. If you are happy with the idea of drinking milk, go for it; if it disgusts you, then don’t.

Since your diet will be undergoing a paradigm shift when you switch from a conventional Western diet to mafism, it may take some time for you to sort out these issues and settle on a personally acceptable solution.


Again, you should do whatever is comfortable for you. Once you abstain from eating beef for a while, leather does start to smell rather like the skin taken from the carcass of a dead cow, which is what it is. Here is a suggestion: you may not wish to treat as garbage which was derived from the sacrifice of a mammalian life, and hence keep all the leather products you already own. However, instead of purchasing new leather products, you may wish to opt for non-mammalian alternatives, such as those made from ostrich, snake, or alligator skin.

Many mafists take the position that leather, being derived from the skin of a mammal, should be considered in the same way as something made from the skin of your Aunt Sally. You personally may not share this view; you may reason – for example – that leather is derived from mammals that are dead anyway, and decide to continue purchasing leather products. That’s fine, too; the point of the mafism is that you can do whatever you are comfortable with, as long as you respect mammals and put mammals first.


There is only one. In keeping with the principle of mafism, after observing mafism for an extended duration, it will feel as the most natural thing in the world not to consume mammal meat – and the most unnatural thing in the world to consume mammal meat. Consequently one may experience a growing degree of revulsion while observing others consume mammal meat.

The mafist may feel as if she is surrounded by cannibals and their revolting dietary habits when dining with non-mafists, since, for the mafist, the consumption of mammal meat is tantamount to cannibalism. You may gag when confronted with the sight of cuts of beef, or the smell of a hamburger consumed by someone nearby – sights and smells which, according to a mafist’s principles, belong to a morgue and crematorium, respectively. This revulsion is normal, and natural, and indeed the way things should be, but it does create some conflict and a degree of discomfort – discomfort caused by the habits of others, it must be said, rather than by an inherent problem with one’s own diet.

It should be noted that this problem rarely arises with vegetarians, who, after conversion to vegetarianism, often continue to exhibit the same degree of longing for all meat products, including mammalian meat as well as chicken or fish, as their bodies and minds continue to interpret the absence of any meat from the diet as deprivation. That is one reason why a considerable number of vegetarians return to their old ways. In contrast, no mafist has been known to start consuming mammal meat again.


Whereas you can keep a reptile or fish as a pet, and become quite attached to it, only a mammal will ever love you back, and only a mammal will seek your company for a motive other than food. A mammal will have a unique personality and the innate ability to form an emotional connection with another individual. A lizard, goldfish, or canary will leave if given half a chance, never to return – unless it is smart enough to remember that your home is a ready source of food.


You’ve probably never lived with them. In comparison to mammals, domestic fowl are the dumbest and most annoying creatures imaginable. They defecate absolutely everywhere and, unlike mammals, are impossible to train. The cultural divide between fowl and humans is huge, unlike the cultural divide between (for instance) goats and humans. But hey, mafism is about doing what is comfortable for you. If you love chickens or ducks enough to exempt them from your diet, then that is certainly what you should try to do. You don’t have to eat chickens just because you are a mafist. Many people not on any particular diet hate spinach and avoid that. Similarly, if you don’t like something – such as chicken or duck – just avoid it. You might even try to become a vegetarian or a vegan, rather than a mafist.


All you need is a quart of oil, a little batter, and a plump goldfish. But seriously, if you feel for fish, then you should opt for vegetarianism rather than mafism. Certainly, some birds and fish – as well as reptiles and insects – can be quite cute, and in an ideal world nothing would ever end up on a dinner plate. But this is not an ideal world; suffering has been woven into the very existence of life. Consequently, life is about compromises, and desisting from eating mammals while eating birds or fish is a compromise that many people would be comfortable with. Vegetarianism requires a personal sacrifice in terms of diet and lifestyle that mafists are not willing to make; mafists just don’t feel the same level of empathy for fish, birds, or reptiles as they do for mammals. This discrimination between mammals and non-mammals is crucially important to mafists and they have chosen to incorporate it into their lifestyle.

Even amphibians such as frogs can be considered cute, and it is conceivable that a mafist will exclude the French delicacy of frog legs from her diet. However, the level of emphathy cannot be the same for amphibians as for mammals. In the case of mammals, there is a connection; a two-way interaction of feeling and a sense of brotherhood which comes into being only because they are mammals and reciprocate a degree of emotion. You can’t get that from a frog, now, can you? That’s why mammals are special and that’s why many have opted for mafism.

Of course, you may feel entirely differently, in which case, obviously, you should find something that works for you, such as vegatarianism, veganism, or fruitarianism. You might even wish to define a new dietary practice which limits the diet to plant matter, insects, and other invertebrates.


This is nothing but prejudice and bigotry. Rats and bats, like all mammals, grew up sucking their mother’s nipples just like you. They like to nuzzle and cuddle and it’s impossible not to love them once you get to know them. Any ill-feelings against rats or bats stem from ignorance, cultural bias and stupidity. How can it be that hamsters are cherished as pets while rats are despised? They are both rodents of the same size and with essentially the same habits, and they look pretty much the same, too. In fact, most people are schizophrenic about rodents – loving the protagonist of the movie “Stuart Little” while simultaneously purchasing rat poison to murder the Stuart Littles living in the rafters.

Yes, rats – or their non-mammalian fleas, to be precise – are disease carriers, but that’s only because human settlements larger than anything within the bounds of reason provide a continuous stream of festering garbage that breeds diseases which rats (i.e. their fleas) end up spreading. All mammals – rats, coyotes, hyenas – are special, though it could be argued that some – like dogs, cats or horses – may be more special to most people than others. A mafist wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she ate the flesh of any mammal, unbearably cute or not, because any mammal is an individual capable of developing a unique personality and forming a bond.


Mafism will be more acceptable as a viable alternative if it is about finding a personal comfort zone rather than obeying certain edicts. History has shown us that far more can be achieved if people are left to decide for themselves, rather than if they are castigated, cajoled, browbeaten or otherwise pressured into doing something. Moreover, if you really do not believe in something, you will not be able to keep it up for an extended duration. Mafism is for those who agree that it is the right choice for them, and that the practice of mafism will be a delight and pleasure, rather than a sacrifice. As such, this website does not even try to convince people of the horrors of factory farming or the slaughter of mammals. To a lot of people, the idea of mafism will immediately make sense without detailed explanations as to why the conventional Western diet is flawed. This website is for them.


Probably, but if you were there along with the sheep, you would get eaten first. Cannibalism is nothing new, and most people are capable of it – one need do no more than watch the movie “Alive” (based on a true story about passengers that survived a plane crash and ate the dead in order to survive). The point of mafism is not that we should refrain from cannibalism – which is already understood by most members of modern civilization – but that eating mammals is pretty much the same as cannibalism. If forced into an extreme situation, a mafist may resort to cannibalism as well as eating mammals, and both will be equally gruesome to her.


First and foremost, all you need to do is practice mafism. As the people around you learn that you won’t eat mammals, they will automatically gain awareness of the concept of mafism. Second, you could put up a link to this website. Lastly, you could translate this website into your native language. Perhaps one day there will be a row of flags at the top of this page, with links to versions of websites about mafism in lots of different languages.


Thank you for taking the time to check with this website. Cook anything as long as none of the ingredients involve mammal products. Also try to exclude anything that resembles muscle tissue from a dead mammal, such as veggie meat. Some mafists are turned off by ostrich steaks, because they look a lot like beef steaks.

One thing to watch out for is jellies, because jelly contains gelatin. Few people – even many mafists and vegetarians – are aware that jelly is impossible to make without gelatin, which is derived from animal bones (usually bones from mammals such as cows).

Don’t serve a mafist beef soup from which the chunks of beef have been removed, since the soup itself already contains beef extract and smells of beef; rather, cook a fish, chicken, or vegetable soup in the first place. Similarly, don’t serve a (for example) pepperoni pizza from which the sausage has been removed; order a pizza that is free of meat to begin with. And if carving a turkey for your mafist guests and a leg of lamb for your other guests, please use separate carving knives.

If your house isn’t huge and odors from the kitchen do reach the guest area, it might be an idea to refrain from frying bacon or any other mammal meat which produces odors that are nauseating to a mafist. And for heavens sake don’t put a whole roasted lamb or pig on the table.

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