“Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respects: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But, you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you.”
There are many other quotes that would show a stronger stance, and the Buddha did go into great detail of the “countless offences” of eating meat versus the many benefits of not eating meat. But what it came down to, concerning food, is that one should accept what is offered, without aversion.
It was directed specifically to his disciples, and though it is still mostly relevant to contemporary monastics (depending on what region they are in), it’s not an excuse for eating meat.
I’d prefer to keep it simple, for now, and end with this quote I found at the end of an article, Buddhism and Eating Meat, written by Ajahn Brahm, an Australian monk who spent time in North Eastern Thailand;
“Monks may not exercise choice when it comes to food and that is much harder than being a vegetarian. Nonetheless, we may encourage vegetarianism and if our lay supporters brought only vegetarian food and no meat, well… monks may not complain either!”
for more on the topic, I found these informative: