Vegan Doctor Group Takes Break From Attacking UW to Warn That Hot Dogs Are as Bad as Cigarettes

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The Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine is a D.C.-based group of activists (a few of whom are doctors) that's committed to promoting a nationwide vegan diet and stopping animal research. The folks at UW know the group well as the ones who keep suing them over animal research.

Well, the PCRM has a new foe. It's called America.

Well, actually, their new foe is called the hot dog. But hot dogs and America are practically the same thing, amirite?

Anyhow, the group just put up an enormous billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that reads as such:

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The PCRM says that the basis of its deduction that hot dogs are as bad as cigarettes lies in data from the American Institute for Cancer Research, which in 2007 published a study that says (among many other things) that eating lots of processed meat can lead to an increased risk of cancer.

"A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave," has become PCRM spokesperson Susan Levin's catchphrase in promoting the group's anti-hot dog agenda.

Of course, the study referenced by the PCRM warns against daily consumption of hot dogs and other processed meat, which is--like eating any relatively unhealthy food--not recommended as a healthy lifestyle.

Seattle Weekly talked to Levin on the phone and asked if she felt her group was making a rather large leap in comparing eating hot dogs to smoking chemically- renched tobacco leaves.

"No, we're not making a leap," she says. "You could probably smoke a cigarette a day and be fine. But no doctor is going to recommend it. The real message I want to deliver is that there is no safe amount [of hot dog eating] in terms of risk. If you want to quantify that, fine, but the risk is there."

It's true. The risk is there. Just like the risk of having a heart attack from eating too many french fries or damaging one's liver from drinking too much beer is there.

Lost in the PCRM's campaign, however, is the idea that eating hot dogs in moderation might not be such a bad thing.

Then again, the PCRM has never been one for nuance. This is a group that has received a huge amount of funding from PETA and has been denounced by members of the American Medical Association for "misleading" the public on issues of animal research.

The point is, hearing that one should never eat hot dogs from a group that thinks people should never eat any animals should be taken with a grain of salt (a substance found abundantly in hot dogs).

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