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The world, within the last few years...
...has become more and more aware
of the population explosion.
We think of it
in terms of human beings...
...of how many will be able
to survive on Earth.
Will they have enough
clean air to breathe...
...or any air, for that matter?
Will there be enough room
to live in...
...and enough food to feed
an ever-increasing number of mouths?
Nature, up until now, has maintained
a carefully planned balance.
But conditions often change this pattern
and tip scales against the plan.
This imbalance also takes place
in the animal world.
This film, which our researchers
have gathered together...
...was shot in Australia in 1954...
...where a plague of rabbits has been,
and still is, a threat.
Rabbits so numerous
they threaten man's existence...
... by devouring his crops,
killing animals, and destroying property.
Has man the right
to defend himself...
... against an enemy that threatens
his life and property?
If so, how?
By poison? By traps?
And in so doing, what does he do
to the rest of the animal and insect life...
... necessary to his existence?
Rabbits, which seem
so cuddly as pets...
... can become a menace.
They were first shipped to Australia...
... hoping they'd be a valuable
addition to the food supply.
Instead, they proved to be a disaster.
Rabbit drives and roundups have been
called barbarous and cruel...
... but some way must be found
to curb their invasion.
Australia is not the only place
to have been overrun by rabbits.
All over the American West
there have been similar outbreaks...
... and the same battle lines
have been drawn.
Science is doing all it can to help control
this population explosion.
But when this effort fails,
nature's balance gets out of hand.
Right now, a new plague of rabbits
has broken out in the Southwest...
... as shown in these color films just
received from our news team in Arizona.
It's difficult to conceive
that such an innocent, furry rabbit...
... scientifically known as Lepus...
... can be so destructive.
And as they multiply, so does
their demand for food increase.
Can this population explosion
be contained?
Where's Ranger, Dad?
Stepped in a rabbit hole, son.
Broke his leg. I had to shoot him.
Frank, take the truck straight out
about a mile and a half...
...and pick up my saddle, will you?
Mildred?
Get me President Elgin Clark
at the college in Ajo.
What?
I'm sorry I snapped at you,
but I got me a feud going on here.
Yeah, Elgin Clark.
I tell you, Elgin...
...these rabbits are eating me
out of house and home.
Well, I've arranged to have
Professor Taylor meet us in my office.
Now, wait a minute. Not that guy.
Why not? He got rid
of your coyotes for you.
Well, he's just a bit too good.
I haven't heard a coyote yapping
around there for over a year.
Now, that's terrific news for the rabbits,
but it's lousy for me.
There's a balance to these things, Elgin.
- It's tricky.
- Yeah, I know it is.
Look, there's a young couple here
from the East on an exchange program.
Their name's Bennett.
They're looking for ways to control insects
without killing everything else.
I have rabbits, not bugs.
There's nothing left
for a bug to live on.
Well, you trust me, Cole...
...they won't go around killing
everything in sight.
I'll get up to see them right away.
We've sure stirred up a lot of bats
just for these few specimens.
Did you get it?
- There we go.
- Okay.
Now we got this one.
- Okay, honey. I think we got enough.
- Oh, all right.
- Go out here.
- Yeah.
- Cute little guy, huh?
- Oh, there you go.
Yeah, I think I'll put him
right in there.
- Okay.

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