It got only 51 of the 60 votes it needed to pass. The legislation would make it illegal to kill horses and ship their meat overseas, where it is sometimes considered a delicacy.
The bill is a reaction to plans for a DeKalb slaughterhouse to reopen soon. Actress Bo Derek testified for the measure last week, helping it pass in the Senate. However, House opponents say it was wrong for Derek to get involved.
They say lawmakers should not base their vote on the opinion of a celebrity.
Democratic Rep. Robert Molaro is sponsoring the bill because he said horses deserve to be treated humanely when they die.