Cutting Boards and Butcher Blocks
The use of a butcher block first originated in China, though Europeans have used butcher blocks for centuries as well. The concept was to have a sturdy base on which to butcher meat, hence, the "butcher block". The physical act of chopping is also why these blocks are also commonly called chopping block as well.
Prepping of vegetables normally involves knife work such as slicing, chiffonade, julienning, dicing and chopping. This is where your standard cutting board does the job, as all boards can handle light prep work.
Meats on the other hand, require quartering, deboning, chopping and filleting, which require a larger working surface that is also sturdy enough to stay in place and not be damaged. Thickness is important because it adds the most important factor: weight.