It could be that he understands the use of food (Puttamansa Sutta: Eines Sohnes Fleisch), and that there is nothing wrong in eating meet,ss long an animals is not seen, heard or assumes to have been killed for a monk, which is of course not easy to maintain if not walking for alms but living like a "king".
"One should not knowingly consume meat killed on purpose (for a bhikkhu). Whoever should consume it: an offense of wrong doing. I allow fish and meat that is pure in three respects: One has not seen, heard, or suspected (that it was killed on purpose for a bhikkhu)." — Mv.VI.31.14
That fact that eating meet it self is nothing wrong, is of course also an excuse for many monks to simply maintain their sensual pleasue with it, agrguing with health if approached about such tendency, accumulating much demerits not only for themselves but for the Sangh and the other gems reputy as well.
one should not consume meat without having reflected on it (on what it is). Whoever should do so: an offense of wrong doing." — Mv.VI.23.9
It is clear on the other side that teaching to abstaining from eating meat, is the Dhamma of Devadatta, the opposer of the Buddha, and just a means to win the favor of uninformed for gain.
To wish after meat, even for health purpose, has not been allowed by the Buddha, as far as my person knows, since such would open the door for the above mentioned usual situation and involve monks of the Buddha in worlds ways of killing for ones benefit, how ever, one may in certain cases as medicin use "meat broth (which again, the Commentary says, is just the broth without any meat)"
And at least, food is like people, clima... a matter of upanissayapaccayena (strong condition cause), which if we think that a person as he is a country bound reincanation, seems to be the most reasonable, thought that Tibetans are for sure most meat-eater.
There are less people having gone beyound desire for certain physical food, at least it would mean that one has gained No-returner and a attribute of first hollyness is to stick to Vinaya and in no cases let it appear as relative and not so importand, meaning confessing and being hardly ashamed about ones incapibility.
So one thing is: Vegan or Vegeterian is talk by the Devadattas, is not a requirement and eating meat (not taled about the gain) is nothing wrong.
And: There are less monks who stick and have faith into Dhamma-Vinaya and many who for the sake of their belly to householders a favor following popular things get involved in views and take side, even misinterpret the Buddha knowingly.
At least the Dali Lama is not a person with secure faith in Dhamma- Vinaya, but seek after advices and also for favor, outside the three gems and the Buddhas and Noble ones way. If he could stand doing Vegitarian or even Vegan, he would stand that for winning favor under laypeople and for politic, but even here he has his limits, to weak.