Meat is animal flesh (mainly muscle tissue) used as food, sometimes with the exception of fish, other seafood, and poultry. Originally, the word meat meant simply "food". It is also used as a vulgar way to refer to the human body (see meat market).
For the most part, meat for human consumption comes from domesticated animals bred specifically for this purpose, and killed in an abattoir.
The use of other meats, such as venison, the meat of small game animals and a few other mammals, and even the meat of certain reptiles and amphibians, is not uncommon. The use of meat from other mammals is much less common, although nearly every animal that lives has probably been used for human food at one time. What meats are used and the way they are cooked depends on the availability and cuisine.
Thin sliced meats used in sandwich-making are called cold cuts in the United States.
In recent years, forms of imitation meat have been created to satisfy some vegetarians' taste for the flavour and texture of meat, and there is speculation about the possibility of growing in vitro meat from animal tissue.
Main article: taboo meat
Some types of meat are taboo for certain religions (such as pork or beef) while others are due to their association as pets in those countries, with the notable exception of rabbits in the West. The laws of Moses label some animals as clean and some as unclean. Both Judaism and Islam follow these laws. Clean meat in Judaism is referred to by the word Kosher while in Islam the term for clean meat is Halal. Until the mid-1960s, the Catholic Church forbade the eating of meat on Fridays. In America though, Catholics are only asked to not eat meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Fridays during Lent. Buddhist belief advises against killing animals because of the bad karma believed to be generated. However, eating meat when the animal has already been killed (depending upon the individual's interpretation of karmic laws) might not necessarily carry this karmic penalty.
List of meats
The following list of meats includes animals which some cultures never eat or do not consider meat, as well as endangered species.