Many vegetarians and vegans argue that G-d gave humans permission to eat meat only because of a human failing in abstaining anyway. My takeaway from that argument is that, in light of a more traditional approach I've heard, that after the Flood, all animals owed their very existence to humans and therefore humans were placed atop the food chain, and since humans could not overcome the temptation to remain herbivorous anyway, G-d granted us the right to eat meat. I've also heard that in the days of the Messiah, we will no longer eat meat.
But is that really how are to view this permission? I know a direct parallel cannot be drawn from the fact that G-d asks for animal sacrifice, because we are giving in that case, not taking, and the argument over leather also proves virtually nothing. Further, it makes it even more difficult for us to budget for our own consumption if we have to sacrifice part of our flocks to G-d.
Yet we have certain statements with the force of Halachah behind them (whether we Pasken like them or not), that indicate that eating meat is spiritually desirable. I found a reference to Ramban (online, though I cannot trace the source at the moment) indicating that Kosher meat is good for the soul - of course on the other hand, non-Jews are not restricted to such meat, so there's that. But there is the famous statement that there is no joy without meat and wine, and furthermore a requirement (I'm using that term loosely, although some take it very seriously) to eat meat and fish on Shabbath.
Bottom line, is eating meat a good thing, or is it a concession but better not to if we don't have an overwhelming desire to eat meat? Or is there a middle-ground, that since we have the concession it is something we need not worry about and are free to enjoy?
More food for thought (no pun intended): This answer indicates a necessity to eat meat to distinguish humans from animals (possibly even for the animals' sake as much as the humans'). (If anyone can help with general sourcing, it would be greatly appreciated. I've heard R' Kook strongly encouraged vegetarianism (veganism?). If anyone can provide a source for that, I'd appreciate that as well.)