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Vienna Beef: Group Linking Hot Dogs, Cancer Has Anti-Meat Agenda

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Hot Dogs-Cancer Link

This billboard has been mounted outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Credit: Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Cigarettes aren’t the only cancer stick in town, according to a new report.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has erected a billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, showing four hot dogs protruding from what appears to be a cigarette pack with a skull and crossbones printed on it.

“Warning: Hot Dogs Can Wreck Your Health,” the billboard reads.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Lisa Fielding reports

The group says spectators purchased more than 1.1 million hotdogs at the Indianapolis 500 races last year, and that the American Institute for Cancer Research has concluded that one hot dog a day raises the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.

“A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave,” Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine nutrition education director Susan Levin says in a news release. “Processed meats like hot dogs can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and various types of cancer. Like cigarettes, hot dogs should come with a warning label that helps racing fans and other consumers understand the health risk.”

But Vienna Beef President Jack Bodman doesn’t buy the claim. He says the group is not credible, and its agenda is to promote a vegetarian lifestyle.

“They think that everybody in the world would be better off if they were all vegetarian, and that, while they may feel that way, isn’t really the way the world works,” Bodman said.

He calls the research “junk science.”

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is the same organization that put out a much-publicized ad last year showing a deceased man covered by a sheet with a half-eaten hamburger in his hand, followed by the McDonald’s golden arches with the message, “I was lovin’ it.”

That commercial ends with the tagline, “Tonight, make it vegetarian.”

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