Interesting question! Early humans started to eat meat and studies show a link between eating meat and evolution of brain. Therefore, we can say that eating meat has been an important aspect in human evolutionary history. Having said that, right now, it is up to the individual person to decide whether to eat meat or not. It is not a matter of survival anymore but more of a nutritional choice. I also understand your question from the killing animals perspective, given there are practices that handle animals poorly while keeping them as our food sources. These practices should definitely be improved.
Also did you know that when a plant is wounded, its leaves and other parts switch to protection mode and plants have wounding response? In this respect, we can also consider plants as being hurt, when we eat them.