"Hot dogs cause butt cancer."
That's the confronting message to the people of Chicago from a doctors' group promoting a meat-free existence.
The slogan, on a roadside billboard, is the latest in a series of advertisements nationwide targeting the beloved snack, the Chicago Tribune reported.
They include the warning "Hot dogs can wreck your health" in Indianapolis and in Miami, "Hot dogs can take you out of the game."
The campaign is being undertaken by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine -- an advocacy group led by doctors and other health professionals, promoting a vegan diet and non-animal methods in research and education.
Chicago was targeted for its particular sign because Illinois men have some of the highest colorectal cancer rates in the US, the committee said. It said it used the word "butt" in place of "colon" in the ad because of "a recent survey showing that a surprising number -- 39 percent -- of Americans do not know what the colon is."
The sign is located alongside the city's Eisenhower Expressway.
Rejecting the message was the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, which argued, "Hot dogs are part of a healthy, balanced diet. They come in a variety of nutrition and taste formulas and they are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. This group's claims are on a collision course with the facts."
The American Cancer Society advised against a diet rich in red and processed meats, saying, "The evidence that consuming high amounts of red and processed meats increases the risk of colon and rectal cancers is considered convincing."