"These tombs were built beside the king's pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves," said Hawass in the statement. "If they were slaves, they would not have been able to build their tombs beside their king's."
Evidence from the site, Hawass said, indicates that the approximately 10,000 laborers working on the pyramids ate 21 cattle and 23 sheep sent to them daily from farms in northern and southern Egypt.
Link -via Geeks Are Sexy
That was how most levels of priesthood worked too; basically a sweet temporary government job.
Meat was only a small part of their diet which was principally grain-based (i.e. bread & beer).