1002. The symbolism of not eating as not mingling now follows.
Regarded in itself, eating meat is a profane custom, since people of the very earliest times never ate the flesh of any animal or bird but only grains (particularly wheat bread), fruit, vegetables, different kinds of milk, and milk products (such as butter). Butchering living creatures and eating the flesh was heinous, in their eyes, and characteristic of wild beasts. It was only on account of the menial labor and the functions the animals performed for them that they captured any. This can be seen from Genesis 1:29-30. 1
But when time passed and people turned as savage as wild animals and in fact more savage, for the first time they started to butcher animals and eat the meat. In view of the fact that people were like this, the practice was also tolerated, as it still is today. To the extent that people follow it in good conscience, it is permissible, because everything we consider true and consequently allowable forms our conscience. For this reason, no one these days is ever condemned for eating meat.
1. Genesis 1:29-30 describes vegetation as the food assigned by God to people and animals. It is only after the Flood that God explicitly gives permission to eat animals (Genesis 9:3). Swedenborg takes this to mean that people were vegetarians in the antediluvian era. [LHC, RS]
(References: Genesis 9:4)