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Meat is the flesh of animals and provides much needed protein for teeth and bones. Animals also produce milk, honey and eggs for human consumption as well, though these products are produced without killing the animals; Though one might note that a fertilized egg will never hatch into a chicken. Eggs we eat are generally unfertilized.
Use of Meat in Ancient Times
Since the fall of Adam, mankind has used animals for food. Adam and his righteous posterity also engaged in animal sacrifice. In all likelihood the meat was eaten by proper people in proper circumstances.
After the Exodus, part of the law of Moses consisted of dietary restrictions specifying which animals could and could not be eaten. Animals that had cloven hooves and chewed their cud could be eaten, while animals that did not chew their cud or have cloven hooves were forbidden. Thus, cattle and sheep could be eaten while hogs and horses could not be eaten. Jews today still abstain from pork. Likewise, there were dietary rules governing the use of birds and fish.
While Israel's neighbors ate animals forbidden by law of Moses, Israel itself abstained. A classic story is that of Daniel and his three friends, who refused to eat the king's meat, but rather only ate what was allowed by Law of Moses. The Bible records that they were greatly blessed with health and strength.
After the Christ's resurrection Peter was given a revelation in which he was commanded to eat of those animals which were forbidden by the Law of Moses. Since this time, the flesh of all animals has been permitted to be consumed.
In Section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants the lord says meat is to be used sparingly and one scripture mentions in time of famine. Church members are counseled to not to waste flesh when they hunt (however the decision to hunt or fish is a private one). Members are also free to choose vegetarian diets if they wish, however, vegetarianism is not specifically counseled and is not understood to be scripturally mandated, and teaching otherwise is an apostate practice.
Paul, in a letter to Timothy, describing future apostate, spoke of how there would be those "commanding to abstain from meats" (1 Timothy 4:3). Section 49 of the Doctrine and Covenants says that those that preach abstinence from meat are not ordained of God and that he has ordained the animals for the use of man for food and for clothing.
The church owns many animal ranches and animal welfare operations. In addition, many leaders have worked extensively in the raising, slaughtering, and marketing of animal products. For example, Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ran a family meat purveying and grocery business.
Though we should treat animals kindly the lord provided meat for us to use with thanksgiving and the animals give us food in abundance.