The Boston Globe, “Rasky’s (Cage-Free) Golden Egg,” November 4, 2015

By Joshua Miller

Rasky has found a golden egg. Cage-free, that is.

Citizens for Farm Animal Protection, the ballot committee pressing a 2016 initiative that would ban the production and sale in the state of eggs from hens and meat from pigs and calves kept in tight enclosures, plans to use Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications as a key vendor over the next year.

“We are intending to use Rasky throughout this campaign,” said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States, a key part of the ballot coalition.

“It was originally just for a short amount of time,” he said. “That has now been lengthened, and we intend to work with them for this campaign” for not just communications, but a broader slew of consulting services.

The campaign is expected to collect sufficient signatures to make the ballot. But the fight to sway voters on the issue could be pricey, with agricultural interests and the Humane Society pledging to put up a fight over the ballot push.

A 2008 battle over a similar ballot question in California was extremely expensive. Opponents of the animal welfare push there raised about $9 million and proponents raised more than $10 million.

“We are proud to continue our work with the Humane Society and all the other quality organizations in this coalition to make sure this important measure passes in November of 2016,” Larry Rasky, chief executive of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications said in a statement.

Rasky Baerlein has a long record of success with ballot initiatives in Massachusetts.

It ran the communications effort against the push to repeal the state’s casino law in 2014 (another firm ran the overall campaign). It was involved in defeating the 2012 effort to allow Massachusetts physicians to prescribe medication, at a terminally ill patient’s request, to end that patient’s life. And it was involved in passing the 2010 ballot question to remove the Massachusetts sales tax on alcoholic beverages.

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