Lentze's Last Wish

In March 2004, German artist Karl-Friedrich Lentze, inspired by an ailing Dutch man who asked that his corpse be fed to snails, wrote to several zoos asking whether, following his own death, they would feed his body to piranhas.

Lentze told Cologne Zoo director Gunther Nogge that the event could have educational purposes if, for example, it was observed by a group of biology students. "It's a great idea," Nogge agreed. "But if you want to carry it out for educational purposes then it would be better if you were fed to the piranhas alive. They're not as keen on dead flesh and prefer their food live."

Lentze was not easily dissuaded. "They could always poke my body with sticks," he said, "to get me moving and get the fish interested!"

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