A billboard is bluntly telling Chicagoans that hot dogs cause "butt cancer" — and the hot dog industry is not amused.
The billboard is one of a series of ads being put up in major cities by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, or PCRM, urging people to stop eating hot dogs, which it says are a leading cause of colon and other cancers.
The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council — which you can find at the wonderful URL hot-dog.org — reacted immediately to the billboard, which went up recently on the Eisenhower Expressway.
Calling the ad "outrageous" and "inflammatory," the trade group dismissed the PCRM as a "pseudo-medical animal rights group" bent on turning all Americans into vegans.
The PCRM has put up similar billboards in other cities, like this one in Miami:
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
and this one in Indianapolis:
But Janet Riley, president of the hot dog council, said in a statement that hot dogs are "part of a healthy, balanced diet" and said the PCRM ads "are an effort to seek attention for their animal rights cause."
The PCRM — a nonprofit group based in Washington whose membership includes thousands of physicians, dietitians and nutritionists — does advocate for elimination of food industry practices that it contends are cruel to animals, and it does endorse a vegetarian diet. It says its opposition to meat isn't political but is instead based on a decade of research that it says show that processed meats are a leading cause of diabetes and heart disease.
Just this week, the Harvard School of Public Health published the results of a 28-year survey tracking the diet and health of 122,000 medical professionals, which indicated that eating a daily serving of red meat increased the risk of early death by 13 percent, NBC News' Robert Bazell reported.
But in her written statement, Riley urged consumers to check with "your doctor, dietician [sic] or the U.S. Dietary Guidelines," not the PCRM, for their dietary advice.
"You can be assured that they will tell you that a healthy diet can include processed meats like hot dogs alongside your vegetables, grains and dairy," she said.
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