Buddhism is against direct violence, or probably any form of violence in its last consequence. Yet still you can consume meat on your path to enlightenment. But I do ask myself: Is live about enlightenment or about justice? A justice that you can possibly implement here, in this life, “unenlightened”, on earth?
Buddhism is against animal sacrifices, and this is noble and a necessary standpoint for any reasonable person, quite independent of their philosophical background. However, if you accept “meat”, which is of course flesh, as a food, you indirectly accept nonhuman animals to be sacrificed for food/ingestion.
The view of nonhuman animals as a potential source of food (even if indirectly delivered or obtained) is factually linked to an unethical view on life which allows itself to declare someone else as chattel. This is a form of a philosophical acceptance of destructive and hegemonic humancenteredness.
For animals to be just helped for reasons of compassion, is basically another way of belittling them and of furthering a humancentred type of religious outlook upon earth (life is not seen in its realistic secular values, where the factually life itself counts). You wouldn’t consider human rights questions as a matter of “sole” compassion, but as a matter of day to day politics, or otherwise maybe one could also say: as a matter of a philosophical outlook that might take you to some form of “enlightenment”.
Anyway, of the many thousands of sources, I picked some I guess good and handy references for Buddhism and the nonhuman animals relation IN PRACTICE:
“Noninjury to Animals: Jaina and Buddhist Perspectives.” In Animal Sacrifices: Religious Perspectives on the Use of Animals in Science. Tom Regan, editor. Philadelphia:Temple University Press, 1986, pp. 213-236. (Google Book Preview)
“Nonviolence to Animals in Buddhism and Jainism.” In Inner Peace, World Peace: Essays on Buddhism and Nonviolence, edited by Kenneth Kraft. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992. Pp. 49-62. Revised version of “Noninjury to Animals” (Google Book preview)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bullitt/bfaq.html (see : Are Buddhists vegetarian?)
(All links accessed 14th Feb 2014)