Historical records would seem to indicate that the Buddha himself ate meat. That it does not, in fact, appear as though vegetarianism became a significant part of buddhism until at least 500 years after the Buddha's death.
The oldest buddhist texts, and the oldest buddhist school still in existence, considers meat eating to be no big thing; and in the Theravedan texts there is a specific reference to "10 types of meat you should not eat" (including things like bear, hyena, tiger, lion, etc... but pork, chicken, beef, and fish were all allowed), and a text where one of the Buddha's followers tried to get him to impose vegetarianism on the Sangha (spiritual community) but the Buddha explicitly refused. Even monks are ONLY forbidden from eating meat if the creature the meat comes from would be killed specifically for the monks.
Note also that Vajrayana (tibetan buddhism) is meat-eating. Monks in the Mahayana (mostly Chinese) buddhist schools are MOSTLY vegetarians.
But in many other schools, in southeast asia, india, and the himalayas they do eat meat; with the understanding that eating meat is a neutral act, and it is only cruelty if an animal would have to be killed for you personally.
So you can't get very far in buddhism if you eat meat, unless you're talking about people like:
a: The Buddha
b: The Dalai Lama